23 Jun 2017

Great Barrier Island becomes NZ's second dark sky sanctuary

From Morning Report, 7:55 am on 23 June 2017

Great Barrier Island is now an International Dark Sky Sanctuary.

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Photo: 123rf

It was the third area in the world to be awarded dark sky sanctuary status - and the second in New Zealand.

Island residents say you can see about 5000 stars on a clear night - which is about 10 times what can be seen from Auckland.

The local board chairwoman, Izzy Fordham, told Morning Report that the night sky is "amazing".

"It's like an immense glow worm grotto.

"You can see so many different stars, constellations, milky way. It's an absolute delight."

There is no light pollution on the island which is why the stars are so clear, she said.

"On a moonlit night, you can nearly read a book outside. When the moon's not up...there's just no light at all."

Ms Fordham said being awarded the status will ensure the sky is protected for future generations.