Join the New Zealand Starlight Conference 2024

The New Zealand Starlight Conference 2024 take place at Lake Tekapo from 20 to 22 of October this year and has a fabulous line-up of speakers.
Picture of Haritina

April 23, 2024

This October, the town of Lake Tekapo will transform into a hub for celestial enthusiasts and experts from around the globe as it hosts the New Zealand Starlight Conference. Scheduled from October 20th to 23rd, 2024, at the Lake Tekapo Community Hall, this event promises to be a fantastic gathering in the field of astronomy and dark sky preservation.

A Call for Action: Dark Skies for All The theme for this year’s conference is “Dark Skies for All: A Call for Action!” The event aims to tackle critical issues such as light pollution and its cascading effects on the environment, human health, and astronomical research. It is designed to raise awareness and incite actionable change through legislation and community engagement to protect our night skies.

The Milky Way Over Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, South Island New Zealand

Why Attend? Whether you’re a professional astronomer, a dedicated stargazer, or simply someone who cherishes the pristine beauty of a starlit sky, the Starlight Conference offers something of interest. The gathering will serve as a platform to discuss innovative solutions to reduce light pollution while ensuring public safety, thus benefiting all parties involved.

Application to Present a Talk or a Poster

If you wish to present a talk or a poster at the New Zealand Starlight Conference, registration as a participant and payment of the registration fee are prerequisites unless you have been offered a fee waiver. Accompanying guests are not eligible to present. Presentation categories include:

  • Invited talks (20 or 30 minutes): By invitation only.
  • Contributed talks (5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes): Open submissions, with shorter talks encouraged from accredited or aspiring dark sky places in NZ.
  • Posters (A0 portrait or A1 landscape format).

Submit your title and abstract by June 30th.

Note that this deadline may be moved up if the program fills up. Early submission is strongly recommended.

Engaging with Experts and Innovators Attendees will have the unique opportunity to engage with world experts and listen to presentations on the latest research, including the effects of blue light emissions from LED streetlights. These insights will empower communities and local government officials to adopt lighting solutions that align with the best international practices.

Highlights of the Conference:

  • Promotion of New Zealand as a Dark Sky Nation: The conference will showcase New Zealand’s dark sky protection and astro-tourism leadership.
  • Educational Opportunities: Learn about the benefits of dark skies for human health and the environment and cost savings in power generation.
  • Cultural Insights: Discover the significance of Maori starlore and Matariki and explore night skies’ cultural and aesthetic aspects.
  • Community Involvement: The event aims to energize communities across New Zealand to pursue Dark Sky accreditation, fostering a national identity centred around celestial preservation.

Networking and Collaboration This gathering is also a prime opportunity to network with stakeholders from various sectors, including the lighting industry, astrotourism, environmental conservation, and health industries. Together, we can forge partnerships and share knowledge that will lead to sustainable practices and innovations in dark sky preservation.

Hosted by Leaders in Astronomy The conference is jointly hosted by the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDSR), which was named the Dark Sky Place of the Year in 2018 by Dark Sky International and the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. Their combined expertise and commitment to dark skies are set to make this conference a landmark event.

A Global Invitation We welcome contributors and participants from New Zealand and worldwide. Whether you are an amateur or a professional astronomer, a policy maker, a researcher, an astrophotographer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the night sky, your presence will enrich the discussions and help propel our collective mission forward.

Save the Date! Mark your calendars for this important event at Lake Tekapo, and join us in advancing the cause of dark skies for all. Let’s gather under the blanket of stars and work together to preserve the night sky’s wonder for generations to come.

Majestic Lake Tekapo at sunset on a cool spring evening in New Zealand

For more information and to register, please visit the official conference website or contact the organizing committee.


Stephen Chadwick
Stephen is a Lecturer in Astronomy and Philosophy at Massey University. He brings a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, specializing in astrophotography. His dual focus on the cosmos and philosophical implications enriches his teachings and brings depth to his photographic captures of the night sky.

Johan Eklöf
Johan is an ecologist from Ulricehamn, near Gothenburg, Sweden, known for his expertise on the effects of light pollution on bats. He is also the author of “The Darkness Manifesto,” which discusses the critical need for dark sky conservation and the broader environmental impacts of light pollution.

Bridgette Farnworth
Dr. Bridgette Farnworth holds a PhD in Behavioural Ecology & Conservation Biology from the University of Waikato. Her research focuses on the behavioral responses of wildlife to human-altered environments, particularly the effects of artificial lighting on ecological systems.

Joan Marie Galat
Joan is a celebrated children’s author from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her book, “Dark Matters—Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution,” explores the consequences of artificial light on nature, aimed at educating young readers about environmental stewardship.

Philippa Gander
Emeritus Professor Philippa Gander from Massey University, Palmerston North, NZ, is an expert in chronobiology. Her work has significantly contributed to our understanding of sleep and circadian rhythms, emphasizing the health implications of disrupted natural light-dark cycles.

Ruskin Hartley
As the Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association based in Tucson, Arizona, USA, Ruskin leads global efforts to combat light pollution. His leadership is pivotal in advocating for and implementing strategies that preserve the night skies worldwide.

Annika Jägerbrand
Dr. Annika Jägerbrand chairs the CIE Technical Committee 4-61, focusing on the impact of artificial lighting on the natural environment. Her work is crucial in shaping guidelines and policies that mitigate the ecological effects of light pollution.

Susan Mander
Susan is an illumination engineer at Massey University in Palmerston North, NZ, where she specializes in measuring light pollution. Her research helps quantify the extent of light pollution, providing a scientific basis for mitigation strategies.

Mario Motta
Formerly associated with the American Medical Association and an amateur astronomer, Mario from Boston, MA, USA, combines his medical expertise with his passion for astronomy to advocate for healthier lighting practices that benefit both human health and celestial visibility.

Carol Redford
Carol is the founder of Astrotourism WA and a leading advocate for astrotourism and dark skies in Australia. Based in Perth, WA, Australia, she is instrumental in promoting stargazing and preserving dark skies as a valuable resource for tourism and heritage.

Connie Walker
An astronomer and passionate advocate for dark skies, Connie Walker co-directs the Center for Protection of Dark Skies (CPS) in Tucson, AZ, USA. She collaborates with the International Astronomical Union to develop global strategies for reducing light pollution.

Yana Yakushina
Yana is a lawyer based in Ghent, Belgium, specializing in legislation related to light pollution control. Her expertise helps shape laws and regulations that aim to preserve the night sky while addressing the legal aspects of environmental conservation.

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