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Outlook bright for Waitākere Ranges Dark Sky project

Volunteers are now able to use equipment for light monitoring and help register a pre-application to Dark Sky International for the Waitākere Ranges to become an International Dark Sky Place, thanks to the support from Waitākere Ranges Local Board.

The board recently allocated $7,700 for the Waitākere Ranges Dark Sky Project, one of their key priorities in the Waitākere Ranges Lo-cal Board Plan 2023.

Waitākere Ranges Local Board chair Greg Presland is pleased to see the project take its first steps. “Our board is thrilled to help start the project. Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area is a taonga, it is special, and it deserves and needs our continued protection and support,” he explains. “

We’d love the Heritage Area to be a Dark Sky Place where people can enjoy the starry night sky, and value the natural darkness that helps protect our native wildlife and natural areas. This will also make our local area a greater attraction to tourists from far and wide. “We know that artificial light disrupts natural cycles and we want to do our best to make sure that Nature can continue to recover and replenish itself.

“I’d like to thank our passionate volunteers – we now have a dedicated Dark Sky Team made up of Dark Sky enthusiasts from Te Kawerau ā Maki, Piha, Anawhata, Titirangi, Laingholm, and Karekare. Each of us is eager to help turn this great idea into reality,” says Presland. The Waitākere Ranges Dark Sky Project is an initiative to maintain the health of the Waitākere Ranges’ night sky by becoming accredited with the International Dark Sky Association whose goal is advocacy and education to protect night skies globally.

The project is now in the initiation phase, during which the group will need to determine the site’s night sky quality, complete a preliminary lighting inventory, decide the site’s boundaries, land ownership and threats, engage with Dark Sky International, until it moves to the planning and implementation phase. Preserving New Zealand’s night sky is vital for conservation and biodiversity. There are currently six internationally recognised dark sky parks in Aotearoa. They are Aoraki Mackenzie, Aotea / Great Barrier, Oxford Forest, Stewart Island / Rakiura, Wai-Iti and Wairarapa. Article taken from Waitākere Ranges Local Board e-newsletter

Image : Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at Piha Beach. Photo by Raquel Moss on Unsplash


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