Wairarapa Dark Sky Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to certify part of Wairarapa as an International Dark Sky Reserve?

  • It will bring economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits to the people in our districts.  
    • Electricity bills will be reduced
    • The natural environment will be maintained for plants and animals
    • You will sleep better with lower light levels
    • The night sky will be protected and enhanced for residents and visitors
    • Public safety will be increased because we will actually be able to install more lights – and make sure they are focussed better on what needs to be lit.

What is is the biggest hurdle for us to be certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve?

  • Light pollution

What is the point of the new lighting rules?

  • Reducing light pollution by shining light where it is needed, not into the sky.

Do we have to follow the new lighting rules immediately?

  • No, you don’t have to change anything immediately, it’s all about replacing outdoor bulbs and fixtures in our districts gradually.

What are the rules regarding outdoor bulbs and fixtures?

  • When replacing outdoor bulbs, get warm-coloured bulbs that are 3000 Kelvins (3000K) or less, and
  • Choose fixtures that help light point out and down where you need the light most – not out and up.

What is a Kelvin?

  • Kelvin is a measure of light temperature (colour) that goes from warm white to daylight white. 1000K lights are a warm yellow, and 7000K lights are a cool blueish-white. 3000K lights are on the warm end of the spectrum and create less light pollution.

What if our outdoor lights are on a motion sensor/timer, but are more than 3000K?

  • If your outside lights are on motion sensors/timers and turn off within 5 minutes – you’re already doing your part. You don’t need to replace the bulb (with 3000K or less), but you can if you want to help cut light pollution even more.

What if our outdoor lights are not on a timer?

  • Adding a timer to your outside lights is the easiest way to cut light pollution.

What area does this cover?

Where can I find out more information about Dark Sky Reserves?

Will the streets be dark?

  • No. Many South Wairarapa Street lights are already converted for Dark Sky accreditation.

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.

How will this affect music festivals?

  • If festivals go past 10pm they already require resource consent through our District Plan. Festivals can be held with resource consent as long as light pollution is mitigated and lights are not directly pointed into the sky. It’s all about getting the light where it’s needed, not into the sky
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