MEDIA RELEASE: Council voted unanimously for lighting rule change for International Dark Sky Reserve

4 September 2020

At the council meeting on Wednesday, members unanimously approved to proceed to public notification of the proposed ‘International Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting’ Plan Change. This Plan Change proposes changes to the lighting rules for the district.

The Plan Change to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan is required to satisfy some of the requirements for Wairarapa to become an international Dark Sky Reserve.

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association is applying to the International Dark Sky Association for part of Wairarapa to be certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve. South Wairarapa and Carterton Councils support this application for the variety of economic (tourism), environmental, social, and cultural benefits the certification would bring to the districts.

The aim of the proposed Plan Change is to reduce artificial light pollution. The proposed new rules would require new lighting to be low-Kelvin lighting and be shielded or tilted to direct light downwards. Rules also propose a 10pm curfew for sports club lighting at recreational facilities.

The motion was passed with a request from members to consider exemptions to the rules for events at recreational facilities requiring late-night light.

The ‘Dark Sky Management Area’, as it has been termed, includes the South Wairarapa and Carterton Districts, and doesn’t extend to Masterton District at this stage. If granted, the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve would be largest in the world.

Mayor Alex Beijen says the Dark Sky Reserve would be a major attraction to the region.

“The South Wairarapa region is already well-established on the tourist map, most notably for its world-renowned wineries.

“Being a Dark Sky Reserve, we would attract visitors all year round, giving rise to new businesses and jobs in the region,” says Mr Beijen

Carterton District Council’s Policy and Strategy Committee also need to approve the Plan Change for public notification, and this will be considered at their meeting at 11am on Wednesday 9 September. It is intended that the Plan Change will proceed to public notification later this month, where the public will be welcome to make submissions.

More information available here.


Media contact

Amy Wharram

027 252 2863

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