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Kaitorete Spit is a long finger of land which extends along the coast of Canterbury in the South Island of New Zealand. It runs west from Banks Peninsula for 25 kilometres, and separates the shallow Lake Ellesmere from the Pacific Ocean. It is actually a barrier as it reaches landfall on either side (at Banks Peninsula/Birdlings Flat and Taumutu).
The barrier is low-lying but is not prone to flooding. A gravel road extends along half of its length from the small settlement of Birdling's Flat at its northern point. It is also at its northern point that the spit is at its widest - some 3.5 kilometres.
The barrier is of considerable ecological significance and is home to the majority of the surviving specimens of Shrubby tororaro (Muehlenbeckia astonii) - a nationally endangered endemic plant.
The company Rocket Lab announced in July 2015 it is seeking consent to build a commercial space launch centre on the spit. The base is expected to be used to launch satellites into low Earth orbit.
- Thomas, Lauren (1 July 2015). "Space Base in New Zealand Picked to Start Private Trips to Orbit". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
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