2010 – pivotal in seeking to secure world night sky reserve for New Zealand
Next year is pivotal to the success of New Zealand seeking a world heritage night sky reserve for Tekapo Aoraki-Mt Cook
A UNESCO World Heritage meeting in Brasilia in June will be crucial to New Zealand’s chances, leader of the Working party bid former Cabinet minister Margaret Austin says.
“We are launching a nationwide campaign in the lead up to the Brasilia conference next year, so we can tell the public people this project has real and exciting potential particularly in the lead up to the Brasilia conference.’’
Austin says there has been a reluctance to acknowledge that the stars and starlight are significant to human heritage under UNESCO conventions. But there is a groundswell of public concern at the extent to which people no longer see the stars in so many parts of the world and we need a source of income to achieve our goal of world heritage and international support.
The key milestone this year was getting the Tekapo Aoraki/Mt Cook starlight reserve working party up and running so the bid could demonstrate their commitment to the project. With the backing of the Mackenzie District Council there is a belief that astro-tourism, education and awareness of the significance of the dark sky and appreciation of the cultural history for Maori can be realised in the next few years.