Great Barrier Island, located 90 kilometres from Auckland in New Zealand, has become the first island in the world to be designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) established the International Dark Sky Places conservation programme in 2001 to recognise ‘excellent stewardship of the night sky’. Designations are based on the scientifically measured darkness of sky as well as stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says Great Barrier Island is home to a community focused on protecting and preserving its stunning natural beauty which makes it the ideal location to receive International Dark Sky Sanctuary status.
Great Barrier Local Board Chair, Izzy Fordham, says the Aotea/Great Barrier Island International Dark Sky Sanctuary is just the third to be afforded the sanctuary status in the world.
Local residents and dark sky enthusiasts, Gendie and Richard Somerville-Ryan, worked with Auckland astronomer, Nalayini Davies, to gather the evidence required to support the application.
As Auckland’s economic growth agency a key part of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s (ATEED) work is to help Auckland’s regions develop their tourism offering.