An event for rocket enthusiasts to launch their biggest and most impressive rockets, was held in Taupiri on Sunday, attracting groups from as far as India.

But the highlight of National Rocket Day, was the launch of a rocket that broke records.

Wellington teenager Jack Davies holds the title of the largest amateur rocket launch in the country, after launching a 53kg rocket, named Marsden.

The rocket reached 13,200ft.

"The flight was perfectly successful, it travelled just under the speed of sound," Davies said.

"It accelerated at 8gs, eight times the force of gravity."

Davies said hours of planning, preparation and design had gone into Sunday's launch.

"Before you even start you have to make sure you can do it. Make sure it can withstand the forces involved," he said.

"It was just, just awesome."

Davies holds several New Zealand rocket altitude records, and was also the inaugural winner of the Arthur Alan Thomas Junior Rocketry Award last year.

He started building rockets with his father Tony when he was eight starting with a small rocket kit, but is now constructing his own rockets using fibreglass and carbon fibre.

His attendance at National Rocket Day, held each February in Taupiri, was one of many.

New Zealand Rocketry Association president Evan More said the event was a chance for members to get together and swap information on rocketry. 

"What we are here to do is promote science as well and for young people to get hands-on work with rockets," he said.

"People were able to come along today to see how to build a rocket and be part of something you can do with your hands."

More said he previously worked with explosives, as an underwater commercial diver.

"I always liked explosives and stuff like that," More said.

"So I did pyrotechnics and stuff like that. I found a position where I could combine all the things I like and launch things."

The Dobbs brothers, Timothy, 9, Samuel, 7, Michael, 5 and Joel, 3, were first time visitors to the rocket event.

"It was so cool, my favourite part was when the rocket went up. It made this cool sound," said Samuel Dobbs.

"My favourite part was when the rocket hit the car," said Timothy Dobbs.

The rockets ranged from ready-to-go rockets for young kids to those that travel at 30,000ft or more.

Upwards of 60 rockets can be launched on the day. 

More said the event grows every year and believes its popularity grows because its unique.

"I mean, where as can you go to see rockets launch all day?"


 - Stuff

IMAGE: Scott Yearbry and Kent Hawkins of St Peter's School, wait excitedly to launch their rocket.

Image by George Heard, Fairfax Media


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