Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association is about to apply to the International Dark Sky Association to certify part of Wairarapa as an International Dark Sky Reserve. It’s an exciting prospect that brings environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits to the people in our districts. The change to the District Plan supports the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association application and will reduce light pollution into the sky.

The new lighting rules are all about shining light where it is needed, not into the sky. Public spaces will continue to be lit, with the only changes relating to colour temperatures and light shields. Colour temperatures will be warm instead of cold (please see Information Brochure for description). Using lower Kelvin lights means that we could install more lights in public places – and make sure they are focused better on what needs to be lit. So we’ll be able to reduce unnecessary light pollution and increase public safety.

Light shields will direct all light towards the ground rather than up into the sky.

You don’t have to replace anything now. Our aim is that within 10 years, 80% of our outdoor lighting will comply with International Dark Sky requirements. If you are able to replace your outdoor lighting now, we’d like to encourage it. That will help decrease light pollution and give our districts a head start on the 10 year/80% goal

Please see our Information Brochure on the Wairarapa Dark Sky initiative!

Please find some Frequently Asked Questions answered here.

15 September 2021

Notification of decision

This is the Notification of Decision for a Council-initiated Plan Change (Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting) to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan under Clause 11 of the First Schedule, Resource Management Act 1991.

The following is an independent hearing commissioner’s decision and Council’s Resolution on Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting Plan Change.

The proposed plan change was advanced as a Council-initiated plan change in support of an application from the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association to the International Dark Sky Association for part of the region to be certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve. The plan change has been a responsive approach to bring forward modern outdoor artificial lighting controls, and includes policies, rules, and other methods in the District Plan to control outdoor lighting throughout the two districts of South Wairarapa and Carterton to minimise the effects of light pollution on the darkness of our night sky.

The application was notified on the 30 September 2020, with the submission period closing on 30 October 2020. No hearing was required due to resolutions through positive inter party discussions. The Independent Hearing Commissioner’s recommended decision was received by Council on 25 May 2021. The Independent Hearings Commissioner recommended approval for the plan change for the Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting Plan Change. The Commissioner’s recommendations were presented to South Wairarapa District and Carterton District Councils on 30 June 2021, with both Councils adopting the recommendations.

The Council minutes can be viewed here

The recommendations of the Hearing Commissioner and Council Resolution that ratified the Plan Change are available to be viewed:

  • Here online
  • The South Wairarapa District Council offices, 19 Kitchener Street, Martinborough
  • The Greytown, Martinborough, Featherston and Carterton Public Libraries

The Plan Change provisions can be viewed here

Any person who made a submission on the Plan Change may appeal the Council’s decision to the Environment Court, in accordance with Clause 14 of the First Schedule of the Resource Management Act 1991, in respect of:

  • a provision included in the proposed plan change
  • a provision that the decision on submissions proposes to include in the plan change
  • a matter excluded from the plan change
  • a provision that the decision on submissions proposes to exclude from the plan change.

A person may appeal only if the person referred to the provision or matter in their submission on the Plan Change. Any appeal must be in the prescribed form and lodged with the Environment Court by the 29 October 2021.  

To find out what these new rules mean for you and your property please see the information brochure, or phone the Planning Department at South Wairarapa District Council.

Harry Wilson
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
For and on behalf of the
SOUTH WAIRARAPA DISTRICT COUNCIL

Geoff Hamilton
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
For and on behalf of the
CARTERTON DISTRICT COUNCIL


Previous Notices and More Information Below

The South Wairarapa District Council is proposing a plan change to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan. The plan change would add some rules to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan to manage light pollution better.

The Wairarapa International Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting Plan Change

The South Wairarapa District Council is proposing a plan change to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan. The plan change would add some rules to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan so it manages light pollution better.

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Society are applying to the International Dark Sky Association for part of Wairarapa to be certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve. South Wairarapa, Carterton, and Masterton District Councils support this application for the variety of economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits the certification would bring to the districts. This plan change will help the dark sky certification application go more smoothly. New rules would need to be in place before the Martinborough Dark Sky Society can submit their dark sky reserve application in February 2021.

Here are the main changes to the District Plan

New outdoor lighting to be tilted down or shielded so light goes out and down – not out and up.

Ensure the ‘colour temperature’ of new lighting is 3000 Kelvin and under.

An exemption to the above rules if outdoor lighting is on a five-minute (or less) sensor/timer.

Sport and recreation lighting to address light pollution, and to make it easier (eg. fewer resource consents) for sports recreation facilities to install outdoor lighting.

All of the documentation can be downloaded here, and is also available at the South Wairarapa and Carterton District Council offices and Greytown, Martinborough, Featherston and Carterton Public libraries.

Summary of the plan change and FAQ’s
Section 32 report
Section 32 Appendix A – Proposed changes to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan
Response to Minute 1 – Summary of pre-hearing discussion
Minute 2 Commissioner

Chapter 4 – Rural Zone
Chapter 6 – Commercial Zone
Chapter 7 – Industrial Zone
Chapter 19 – General Amenity Values
Chapter 21 – District Wide Land Use Rules
Chapter 22 – Assessment Criteria
Chapter 27 – Definitions

Section 32 Appendix B – Proposed Appendix 15: Dark Sky Management Area Map

Section 32 Appendix C – Stephenson and Turner Lighting (S&T Lighting) Report

Section 32 Appendix D – International Dark Sky Association – 2018 International Dark Sky Reserve Guidelines

Section 32 Appendix E – Objectives and Policies of the WCDP

Section 32 Appendix F – Lighting available at lighting retailers

Section 32 Appendix G – Summary of the Australian Standard AS 2560 Guide to Sports Lighting

Section 32 Appendix H – Issues and Options Report

Section 32 Appendix I – Schedule 1 Clause 3 Consultation Responses

Summary of Submissions

Submissions and further submissions have now closed.

Response to Minute 1 – Summary of pre-hearing discussion

A Summary of Submissions (here) has been prepared as required by RMA Process. A full copy of submissions are available here.

Full copy of Further Submissions

The Council is currently reviewing submissions and preparing a response of submissions under s42A of the RMA.

Consultation Update

All submissions have been received and analyzed and a commissioner has been appointed. The below report outlines the commissioners minutes for the process going forward.

Commissioners Minutes

The Commissioner has made the final minutes which are attached below.

Commissioners Minute 3

Attached below is the reporting planners S42A report for the proposed Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve – Outdoor Artificial Lighting Plan Change. This is in response to Minute 2 of the Commissioner.  

S42A Planners Recommendation Report

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