Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve

Our night sky is priceless

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand is recognized for its exceptionally clear night skies, free from urban light pollution. Awarded the status of a Dark Sky Reserve, it is dedicated to preserving these conditions for scientific research and public enjoyment through lighting policies and education.

Visitors to the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve can look forward to breathtaking views of the Milky Way, deep-sky objects, and other celestial phenomena. This reserve offers a unique and unforgettable experience of the night sky as it has been seen by humankind for millennia.

Our reserve is made of

What is a dark sky reserve?

“An IDA International Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core. Reserves are formed through a partnership of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning.” 

IDA – International Dark Sky Reserves

You can read here the application that the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association submitted to the International Dark Sky Association. 

Check out how dark our sky is.

Active Dark Sky Meters in Wairarapa

Currently there are only a few TESS-W meters active in New Zealand. 3 of them are in Wairarapa. 

A TESS-W meter is a photometer that continuously monitors the brightness of the sky at night. The photometer also has temperature and IR sensors to tell whether the sky is clear or cloudy.

Long Dark Sky Observatory in Martinborough

Long Dark Sky Observatory in Martinborough

Star Safari Observatory in Carterton

Who granted the International Dark Sky Reserve Status?

International Dark Sky Places – Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve

Read here the official announcement from the Dark Sky International. (2023)

New Zealand Dark Sky Enthusiasts Protect the Dark (2018)

Support Wairarapa to maintain its status of
International dark sky reserve

Just because we are a dark sky reserve now does not mean that the title is permanent. Our dark skies are a shared treasure, and their protection requires ongoing effort from all of us.

Whether you are a business looking after dark skies accommodation or activities or a school wanting to implement a local curriculum that includes dark skies, here are some ideas on how to become a bit more dark sky-friendly. 

The Dark Sky Reserve Status needs to be maintained.

Everyone can contribute.

For Businesses

If you are a business in Wairarapa, learn how to be dark sky friendly.

List your dark sky friendly business on the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve Map (see below).

Education Resources

Learn about what causes light pollution, like skyglow, light trespass, light clutter and glare.

Did you know that light pollution affects our health and wellbeing and contributes to global warming?

What you can do at home

Do you have a question about dark skies or a beautiful photo of the Wairarapa Night Sky to share? 

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