Great Barrier Island has become the first island in the world to be designated a sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Mayor Phil Goff, Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, dignitaries and around 250 local residents celebrated the official launch of the island’s dark sky sanctuary status last month.
International Dark-Sky Association programme manager John Barentine said the island was a near perfect setting for a world-class sanctuary, including a community largely living off the grid finding meaning in a slower pace of life.
Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham said the island was just the third place in the world to be afforded sanctuary status and an important step for conservation in the Gulf.
“Ecotourism is extremely important to Great Barrier Island and the Aotea/Great Barrier Island International Dark Sky Sanctuary status will not only provide further tourism development and economic growth opportunities but also ensure the preservation of our exceptional starry skies.”
says Izzy Fordham
There are 20 Dark Sky ambassadors on the island ready to share starry nights with tourists. A book has been launched to celebrate the sanctuary status.