We are a community initiative to protect and enhance the beautiful dark skies and natural wildlife habitats we enjoy.

Wairarapa Dark Sky Association

Preserve, protect, enhance and promote the Wairarapa region’s pristine dark skies for future generations.

Light pollution is a threat to our environment, our health and a waste of money.
It disconnects us from our cultural heritage. 

Our ancestors who navigated here by the stars would not believe that today people in heavily light polluted cities have never seen the Milky Way or the majority of stars. Furthermore, too much blue light at night can cause health and wellbeing issues both for humans and animals.

The solution to light pollution is simple

On the streets, we need lights that shine down and are environmentally friendly. At home, we must turn the lights off when we don’t use them.

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.

When the reserve encompasses the Wairarapa region from South Coast to north of Masterton, it could become one of the world’s largest dark sky reserves.

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the inappropriate use of artificial light at night.

“Light pollution is an environmental pollutant that harms our planet and robs us of the opportunity to experience the wonder of a natural night sky.” (IDA, 2020)

Different types of light pollution.

Principal sponsor

Westpac generously co-funded the development of an economic study of the impact of dark sky accreditation on the Wairarapa economy.  The study provided supporting material for the Wairarapa Councils to consider in the process for changing the District Plan to support dark sky friendly lighting.   The District Plan change is a key requirement for achieving international accreditation for a Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve.

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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 in 2021. 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.

Matariki events 2022

“Matariki will be celebrated in New Zealand for the first time as a public holiday on June 24th.  In the Wairarapa several events are planned for the weekend. In South Wairarapa the Featherston Matariki Committee is leading the celebrations with an exciting programme of events that cater for the whole community.

Community groups, businesses, volunteers and mana whenua have developed the programme that encompasses storytelling to kite making, a Matariki Classical Concert to community Hangi and much more.

Wairarapa Dark Sky Association encourages all Wairarapa residents and visitors to head to Featherston during the Festival that runs from 23 – 28 June.

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association congratulates and supports the organising committee for the comprehensive programme it has put together for the festival and wishes the organisers success for this year’s event and future events.”

Viv Napier – Chair

Enjoy the night sky this Matariki with an array of events across the region:

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Statement: Wairarapa Dark Sky Association _ 30 June 2021

At meetings Wednesday the councils of South Wairarapa and Carterton District Councils formally adopted new lighting controls which are needed to comply with the rules of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for formal dark sky reserve status.

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. When the reserve encompasses the Wairarapa region from South Coast to north of Masterton, it could become one of the world’s largest dark sky reserves.

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Thank you to all our amazing sponsors.

Our Principal Sponsor, Westpac,
generously co-funded the development of an economic study of the impact of dark sky accreditation on the Wairarapa economy.