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Local business shines among Gold finalists

Milky-Way.Kiwi directors Samuel Leske and Haritina Mogoșanu are over the moon about recently being selected as finalists in the 25th Wellington Gold Awards.

“It’s recognition that we must be doing the right thing, and it’s amazing to see so many other Wairarapa-based finalists, both in our category and in the others,” Leske told the Times-Age.

“This is fantastic for the region and shows the calibre of business we have here.

“To win would be huge, really huge, and with so many remarkable organisations in the finals, it’s just incredible to be considered in the same group. For any Wairarapa business to win would be outstanding for the region and for all of the hard-working businesses here.”

Leske and Mogoșanu are both professional science communicators and their business has two main components: Star Safari and Spaceward Bound NZ.

Star Safari is billed a unique stargazing-based experience, with top-of-the-line equipment used to view the stars.

Meanwhile, Spaceward Bound involves the Milk-Way. Kiwi founders visiting schools and participating in community events with their portable planetarium to encourage young people to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM].

“Our portable planetarium is unique in New Zealand,” Leske said.

“We don’t just look at stars; we look at the universe with fantastic modern software and equipment. We’ve been to over 100 schools and had 21,000 visitors through our planetarium.”

Mogoșanu also has an asteroid named after her, in recognition of her contribution to science communication.

The region is encouraged to watch this space, as Leske believes Milk-Way. Kiwi has “massive potential” in Wairarapa due to achieving a sustainable and sought-after tourism market.

  • Star Safari is based between Carterton and Martinborough on Ponatahi Rd in the heart of Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve – 1169 Ponatahi Rd, Ponatahi 5792.

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