Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve

Our sky is exceptionally dark, which is one of the reasons why Wairarapa was awarded the status of Dark Sky Reserve.

On the 19th of January 2022, Wairarapa joined 20 other dark sky reserves from around the world (including the famous Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve).

The reserve was made possible with the work and dedication of many people, over a period of more than five years. It is an extraordinary achievement, considering that many people in the world have never seen the Milky Way in their lifes. Star Safari would like to congratulate the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association WDSA for leading the work towards being awarded this status.

This means, according to the International Dark Sky Association,

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 recognised the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning.”


We celebrated the news stargazing from Star Safari, as you can see above, and the sky was fabulous.

Our support for the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve

Having been a committee member of the WDSA for a couple of years now, our company, Milky-Way.Kiwi has financially supported the Association by providing and maintaining the Association’s website until December 2023 www.wairarapadarksky.nz.

The Reserve and the application

Here is a link to the description of our reserve on the IDA’s website


Here is a copy of the application it was submitted to the International Dark Sky Association.

It took a tremendous combined effort to achieve this and lots of hard work from everyone, including measuring how dark the sky is, conversations with many people and organisations and doing outreach and education programmes.

Dark Sky/Light Pollution Exhibition – Look after our night sky

In anticipation of the reserve, our company, Milky-Way.Kiwi supported the creation of a Light Pollution / Dark Sky exhibition, Look after our night sky. This exhibition was at Wairarapa Space Science Centre in Carterton during the summer holiday 2022-2023. It explained the reserve, where it is and what anyone can do to preserve the night sky. We are transitioning it to an online exhibition, and would like to tour it through Wairarapa.

If you are interested to host our exhibition please let us know.

Here is a map of the dark sky reserve

We look forward to many clear skies at Star Safari and we look forward to seeing you here

Hari and Sam

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