Island now a Dark Sky Sanctuary
Great Barrier Island, 100 kilometres north-east of central Auckland, is the first island in the world to be designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in a bid to protect its night skies for present and future generations. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) established the International Dark Sky Places conservation programme in 2001 to recognise ‘excellent stewardship of the night sky’. Designations are based on scientifically measured darkness of sky as well as stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach. The application for the international sanctuary status was lodged by the Great Barrier Local Board with support from Auckland Council, Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), Department of Conservation, iwi, the Auckland Astronomical Society, and Auckland Central MP, Nikki Kaye. Mayor Phil Goff says Great Barrier Island is home to a community focused on protecting and preserving its natural beauty, which makes it the ideal location to receive International Dark Sky Sanctuary status. ‘Great Barrier Island is a place of rugged beauty and untouched wilderness, and is one of the most tranquil and unspoilt places in the wider Auckland region.’ he says.