What we do

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.

The WDSA is developing a proposal to the International Dark Sky Association for an accredited Dark Sky Reserve that ultimately will cover the whole Wairarapa region. Reserves consist of a dark “core” zone surrounded by a populated periphery where policy controls are enacted to protect the darkness of the core. As at June 2020 there are 16 reserves accredited by the International Dark Sky Association. A reserve that covers the whole of the Wairarapa will be larger than any other reserve that has so far been accredited.

The proposed reserve initially will cover the South Wairarapa and Carterton Districts, and then expand to cover Masterton District and beyond. For the Wairarapa, the core zone will be the Aorangi Forest Park, a 194 square kilometre protected area managed by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Aorangi Forest Park.

With Wairarapa accredited as a Dark Sky Reserve we can be sure that our dark skies will be protected for the future, that light pollution will be well controlled and that the impact of light on plants, animals and human health will be minimised. This will be a great asset for the region, and will ensure that Wairarapa skies remains among the best in the world.

Our Dark Sky Meters

We have installed dark sky meters that monitor the quality of the sky from six locations in Wairarapa:

Long Dark Sky, Martinborough 

Piwakawaka Observatory, East Taratahi

Under The Stars, Greytown 

Kereru Grove, Featherston 

Gladstone Inn 

Atutahi Observatory, Martinborough