About Dark Sky Network NZ

The aim of the Dark Sky Network NZ (DSNNZ) is to progress dark sky initiatives in New Zealand by providing a forum for certified and aspiring Dark Sky Places to share experiences, access resources, ask questions and get answers.

In September 2019, the representatives from 15 Dark Sky Places in New Zealand (both certified and aspiring) participated in the Starlight Conference in Tekapo (also attended by the Executive Director and Director of Conservation of the International Dark-Sky Association, IDA) making presentations on their respective dark sky places and the stages of their journeys towards certification.

At the workshop that followed, it was agreed by the Dark Sky Places in attendance that New Zealand pursues dark sky nation certification. In addition, it was agreed it would be beneficial for dark sky places to provide mutual support to each other for their certification as International Dark Sky Places. It was confirmed that the initiative will be led by a committee comprising of Professor John Hearnshaw and Nalayini Davies (co-chairs of the Starlight Conference 2019) and Steve Butler (Co-ordinator, Dark Sky Group – Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, DSG-RASNZ).

DSNNZ Personnel

Nalayini Davies

President - Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ)
Board of Directors Member, DarkSky International (DSi)

Professor John Hearnshaw

Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, University of Canterbury

SB Photo

Steve Butler

Board Chair, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDSR)
Leader Dark Skies Group, Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ)


Gareth Davies

Dark Sky Places Committee Member, DarkSky International (DSi)

The following two schematic diagrams illustrate the linkages between the different entities involved in the initiative to support the dark sky certification process in New Zealand.

The individual entities will interface as follows:

DSPNZ Schematic - Rev 1

The closed Facebook Group will operate as follows:

DSPNZ Schematic - FaceBook Group

DSNNZ History


Aoraki McKenzie becomes an IDA Dark Sky Reserve.


Aotea / Great Barrier Island becomes an IDA Sanctuary.


Starlight Conference at Tekapo attracting dark sky experts from around the world.

Rakiura/Stewart Island becomes an IDA Sanctuary.


Wai-Iti Recreational Reserve becomes an IDA Dark Sky Park.


Dark Skies Workshop follows the Royal Astronomical Society of NZ’s 100th anniversary conference in Wellington.


Martinborough /Wairarapa on the cusp of IDA certification, with many other NZ dark sky places aspiring to obtain IDA certification.


DSNNZ – Facebook Group

A closed Facebook Group has been established to allow the official representatives of certified and aspiring Dark Sky Places to interfacewith one another. Please request to join.

Group ID: Dark Sky Network NZ

DSNNZ FB Profile Iimage (with map)

DSNNZ – Facebook Page

This Page provides a forum for everyone who is interested in our dark skies to share their experiences, access resources, ask questions and get answers.

Page ID: @dsnnz.org

Towards a Dark Sky Nation

A movement now exists to make New Zealand the first OECD dark sky nation. This initiative is supported by the Royal Astronomical Society’s Dark Sky Group and IDA. It is coordinated through this website and by the nominated Lead Advocates Nalayini Davies, John Hearnshaw and Steve Butler.

Email: Nalayini Davies
Email: Professor John Hearnshaw
Email: Steve Butler