Wairarapa is the district that covers the South East of New Zealand’s North Island, one hour’s drive from the capital city of Wellington to the West, and neighbouring the Hawke’s Bay region to the North. The Wairarapa’s dark and wondrous skies first helped guide people to the region’s shores when the renowned Polynesian explorer Kupe arrived here hundreds of years ago – his waka the first to nestle onto Wairarapa shores. Kupe made at least two voyages to the southern Wairarapa coast, each time using celestial navigation to guide his ocean-going vessels.
Today, groups across the region have banded together to preserve and protect those same dark skies. With 80% of humanity across the globe affected by light pollution to some degree, and more than one third unable to see the stars above, it is vital to protect people, wildlife, flora and fauna from the unnecessary spread of light pollution.
The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association, which grew out of the founding Martinborough Dark Sky Society group, plans to lodge a full International Dark Sky Association “dark sky reserve” accreditation bid by late 2020. This will place Wairarapa firmly in the rapidly emerging movement of dark sky places, providing a firm endorsement of the darkness of the sky here. The accreditation bid will be supported by measures taken by the Wairarapa Councils to ensure that light pollution is managed according to best practice, and that the pristine Wairarapa skies will be preserved.
Current members of the WDSA Committee
Chair: Viv Napier
Secretary: Ray Lilley
Treasurer: Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
The WDSA’s Dark Sky coordinator is Charlotte Harding: firstname.lastname@example.org