1 July 2016

Support for dark sky reserve sought

By Lynda van Kempen
From the ODT 1/7/2016

Naseby's dark skies could be the key to a bright future. Local group Naseby Vision is exploring the possibility of the town becoming an international dark sky reserve, like Tekapo.

"Globally, there is increasing interest in pristine skies,'' group secretary and Naseby resident Hilary Allison told the Central Otago District Council yesterday.

"From the research we've already undertaken, a light survey, Naseby [night skies] are deemed qualified as 'pristine', the same, if not slightly better, than Tekapo,'' she said.

The group wanted the council's support for its efforts to get accreditation on an international network of dark sky reserves.

There was a whole raft of things it had to complete to reach that goal.

It also wanted that aim to be kept in sight when bulbs were replaced in street lights, so light pollution was kept to a minimum.

Mrs Allison said Naseby's bid "struck an extraordinarily rich vein of intelligent support from the Otago Museum, the Astronomical Society and the Dark Skies group who are equally excited about Naseby being a dark skies destination''.

Attracting visitors to study the town's starry skies would have economic benefits for the region, she said.

The Central Otago Astronomical Society was "very interested'' in what Naseby planned, society member and district councillor Barrie Wills said.

"We'd like to do something similar all through Central Otago.''

Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper said it was a good idea.

"Good old Naseby, having a crack,'' he said.

"The Scottish nature of me says perhaps we'll turn out all the lights and let you walk around with a torch.''

Naseby Vision is a community group, representing more than 300 residents, holiday-home owners, farmers and business people.

·         Central Otago

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