Let's keep our dark skies

Our night sky is currently one of the least ‘light polluted’ in New Zealand, and we need to keep it that way. It’s a treasure we all take for granted but is in real danger of being spoiled.

What is a Dark Sky Community?

A Dark Sky Community is an area officially recognised by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) when standards for low levels of light pollution are met. 

The Kuaotunu Biosphere Working Group, on behalf of the ratepayer associations of Kuaotunu, Opito Bay, and Otama, is seeking support from all communities on the Kuaotunu Peninsula to have the peninsula declared a Dark Sky Community.

As a first step we are distributing a brochure to all households to explain what is happening and address any concerns. Meetings will be held in each community over the upcoming Christmas Holidays.

We are also working with the Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) to see how outdoor lighting standards can be improved to comply with IDA requirements.

Frequently asked questions

Does this just affect the Kuaotunu Peninsula?

Initially yes, as that is the easiest place to start. The plan is to extend the standards throughout the wider Coromandel Peninsula over time. 

There are many other places in NZ doing this – Tekapo is the best known, but Great Barrier Island has just been recognised and several other places are underway.

Will we have to dim our lights?

No! Almost all the lighting in our area already meets the standards. There may be a few changes needed to some external lights (such as making them point downwards) but there will be a ten year transition period.

Is there anything else we will need to do?

It will help if you use modern, efficient lighting when building new houses or updating current lights, but that will just give you better, healthier light at lower cost.  What’s not to like? 

It’s not that important, is it?

Well actually, it is.  Light pollution is really harmful -  to humans, animals and insects. Being able to see our magnificent night sky in all its glory is good for your body as well as your soul - and this way the grandkids get to see it too.

Examples of good external light fittings

Examples of bad external light fittings

What happens next?

Early in 2022 we will be publishing an online survey form here to enable you to indicate your support for this project.

We will be distributing the link to this survey to all householders on the peninsula.

Watch this space!