After the usual hiatus over Christmas and the New Year, the project ramped up again in the final week of January, and there has been great progress since then.  Principal activities have included:

  • work on establishing a Kūaotunu Dark Sky Trust to assume responsibility for governance of the project and the future Community.  Initial members of the Trust will be drawn from the Working Group and other interested parties
  • finalisation of the area to be included in the initial Dark Sky Community
  • preparation and initiation of a consultation plan for key stakeholders
  • discussion with the President of the Royal Astronomical Society of NZ, who has been closely involved with other Dark Sky initiatives
  • further meetings with TCDC Officers, particularly focussed on public lighting and plan change requirements
  • development of a website and Facebook Group for the project and the Dark Sky Community
  • investigation of economic benefits associated with the Dark Sky Community, particularly through comparison with other IDA recognised areas in NZ
  • initial meeting with the IDA representative responsible for our application, followed by formal registration of our application with IDA
  • clarification with IDA representatives of aspects of the IDA lighting requirements
  • initial contact with a number of local businesses.

We have also been reviewing documentation from other applications both in NZ and overseas to inform and streamline our process.

The next stage of the project will include:

  • continued consultation with key stakeholders
  • developing detailed lighting requirements to be used in the plan change proposal
  • building the comprehensive application document for the IDA
  • continuing community education and support initiatives, particularly a second stargazing event over the Easter holiday weekend