Actura closure: Auckland mum loses thousands after company that runs student NASA trips announces liquidation

Kiwi parents are out of pocket after a company that organises school trips to NASA announced it had gone into liquidation.   

In an email to customers, Actura said its financial position was unrecoverable and that it had no financial resources to provide refunds.  

The CASE Space School International Study Program is promoted as giving secondary school students from around the world a taste of what it's like to work at NASA, the United States space agency.  

Actura facilitates the trips for students in New Zealand through partnerships with local schools, like Orewa College, which told parents in a newsletter it would be participating next year.  

Wainui mum Rebecca Hadley wanted her son to have the experience and signed him up for a trip in December 2025.   

"When it popped up, I was like, 'this is Hunter to a T'," she told Newshub.  

She has already paid about $3500 towards the roughly $12,000 trip.   

But on Saturday morning, the mother received an email from the chief executive of Actura, Charles Chung, saying: "It is with regret and sadness that I must advise that Actura Australia Pty Ltd has with immediate effect gone into liquidation."  

He told customers it has no financial resources to provide refunds.  

"Actura has ceased its operations effective today in both Australia and New Zealand and Westburn Advisory has been appointed to manage the liquidation process of Actura Australia Pty Ltd."  

Hadley said it was difficult breaking the news to her son.  

"The first thing was, I'd have to tell Hunter and he's going to be gutted."  

She was alerted to the programme by Orewa College and signed her son up in February.  

Last month, Orewa College was posting on Facebook about the programme, inviting parents to an information evening that was scheduled for next Thursday.  

But clicking on the link provided in the post now leads to a webpage that says: "Page not found." 

"I didn't do my due diligence on the company because as far as I was concerned, surely if it's something that's linked to the college, they're endorsing it, and it should mean that it's a pretty good programme," Hadley said.  

Being a Saturday, Orewa College did not respond to requests for an explanation. Neither did Actura. The company is based in Australia, but it does have an office on Albert St in Auckland CBD.  

In the email to customers, the chief executive was remorseful.  

"We deeply apologise for this very devastating outcome," Chung said.  

"The company's cashflow has been severely affected by the compounding financial effects of a precarious recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic, a large increase in cost of supply coupled with significant reductions in registrations due to the ongoing increases in the costs of living being experienced by families."  

But he said Actura has no financial resources to provide customer refunds.   

"Parents that have paid some or all of their expedition instalments via credit card are advised to contact their card issuer to make chargeback claims which may provide for some recovery of costs."  

Hadley said the company should have informed her sooner.  

"They were presenting this to us in February and that's when I paid the first deposit and you can't tell me if you're now sending an email saying it's because of issues through the pandemic and they've had financial difficulties for a while, why keep taking people's money?"  

Hadley has contacted her bank to find out if it's possible to recover the money.  

But aside from the financial loss, her son has missed out on a space adventure he was so looking forward to.