This strategic plan sets a course for the transformation of Stardome over the next five years, which will ensure we remain relevant and fit for the future.



2023 was a year of transformation. It marked the
second year of ‘A New Vision’, our 2021–2026 strategic plan.

This is a vision that will ensure Stardome is a place of trust and integrity for celestial stories, astronomy, mātauranga Māori and cosmological science; one that honours and shares the first stories told about the skies over Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa; that upholds the mana of Maungakiekie; is environmentally and financially sustainable; and inspires and excites the minds of our tamariki and rangatahi.


Despite another challenging year navigating the Covid-19
climate, Financial Year 2021/2022 came with two major
highs for Stardome: it was the first year of implementation
of A New Vision, our five-year strategic plan, and the year
Matariki became a national holiday, the first grounded in
the indigenous knowledge of Aotearoa.



Stardome's vision, mission and management is guided by The Auckland Observatory and Planetarium Trust Board 

Chairperson– Richard Sorrenson
PhD (Princeton)

Richard Sorrensen has long had an interest in the history of astronomy and obtained his PhD in the history of science from Princeton University.

He is the author of Perfect Mechanics: Instrument Makers at the Royal Society of London in the Eighteenth Century (Docent Press, Boston Mass., 2013) and manages the University of Auckland Foundation and its endowment fund.

Trustee – Bill Thomas
MSc, BSc (Hons)

Bill Thomas is an IT professional with over 35 years industry experience from various roles in New Zealand and England, most recently as a network consultant.

Originally based in Wellington, Bill has lived on Auckland’s North Shore since 1992. Bill joined the Auckland Astronomical Society, the largest in New Zealand in the year 2000 and was elected to the role of President in 2014.

Bill has been keenly interested in astronomy since a young age and wrote his master’s thesis on the Sun’s magnetic cycle.

Bill is also a Stardome volunteer, and operates the Edith Winstone Blackwell Zeiss telescope for public viewing sessions.

Ex-officio Trustee – Niven Brown
PhD Engineering (University of Auckland), BE Mech (Hons)

Dr Niven Brown is founder and director of automation business kanDO Innovation, which specialises in complex automation systems. Niven serves as Treasurer for the Auckland Astronomical Society.

He spent five years working at the University of Le Mans, France and Southampton University, UK, and in 2017 founded Guardian Bandsaws which produces a safe bandsaw that uses high-speed vision and braking systems to protect operators from injury.

Niven's interest in astronomy and cosmology is coupled with his passion for education and public outreach, and he enjoys sharing that passion with children and adults alike.

Trustee – Cadence Kaumoana

Cadence Kaumoana has a strong background in the education sector having spent 19 years working in schools, communities, government and tertiary sectors. Cadence has a number of university qualifications and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland.

Supporting young people in education is a driving influence in Cadence’s career and training. Cadence also has experience in Māori education, the corporate sector and governance.

She enjoys aligning the maramataka (Māori calendar) to her lifestyle planning and gardening activities and spends as much time enjoying our country with her four boys. 

Trustee – Catherine Foster
BA History & Political Science (Victoria University), PG Dip Māori Business (University of Auckland), MBA (Massey)

Catherine Foster is a governance professional with over 15 years experience working across public, private and not-for-profit organisations. She has been involved in industries including arts, culture and heritage (Auckland Museum); and health (Emerge Aotearoa - a not-for-profit specialising in mental health and housing services and Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand). She also has experience working in co-governance arrangements.

Catherine currently leads the Board Secretariat for Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand (the country's largest crown entity), during a time of significant reform and transformation.

Currently living in West Auckland with her husband and two girls, Catherine values the importance of science and education and the role Stardome can play in educating the public about space, our planet and the importance of valuing different knowledge systems in Aotearoa (Māori and Pakeha).

She is Chair of the Capital Programme Monitoring Group at Stardome. 

Trustee – Shannon Thomas

Shannon Thomas is passionate about helping technology start-ups and scale-ups grow and shine on the world stage. She currently manages a portfolio of tech and services companies at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, the New Zealand government’s economic development and trade promotion agency, helping leadership teams to develop their export strategy and capabilities.

A versatile, creative and results-focused business professional, Shannon has over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing communications for technology, telecoms and services sector companies. Prior to joining NZTE, Shannon led communications at IBM New Zealand, where she was responsible for promoting and enhancing the IBM brand locally. Shannon has also worked agency-side and for multi-national software companies in London and Vancouver.

Committed to education in STEAM and ensuring the next generation of science and technology leaders are set up for success, Shannon previously served in a governance role on the Industry Advisory Board for AUT’s School of Future Environments. She has also volunteered her time with Business Mentors New Zealand, the AI Forum of New Zealand, and the NZ Software Association. 

Trustee – Mukseet Bashir

Mukseet Bashir is a Chartered Accountant with a background in audit, and more recently in finance and strategy. He is a former board member (and chair of A&R) at Massey Matters, a not-for-profit organisation working in West Auckland to manage community centres and deliver community services.

He is the author of the book ‘Welcome Home’ which is aimed at students in years 1-3 and explores the challenges of immigration and adapting to a new country. The book has since been published and distributed to schools around New Zealand.

Mukseet grew up in Massey (West Auckland) where school trips to Stardome inspired a fascination with space and the workings of an observatory. His role at Stardome enables him to continue the special role astronomy plays for the people of Tāmaki Makaurau - specifically te ao Māori.




Trustee – Dani Delamere

Bio to come


Trustee – Julian Light

Bio to come