Residents want night sky protected

People living around Tekapo and Mt Cook are calling for government support to protect their night-sky.

The two regions are bidding to become a world night-sky reserve.

Working party chairperson Margaret Austin says an action plan is needed to recognise the importance of the night sky as a cultural heritage site, and a renewable resource. She says New Zealand is very good at promoting tourism in daylight, but to double business we need to think about the hours when the sun is not up.

Ms Austin says the Tekapo township is considered one of the most accessible observatories in the world so further government investment would be worthwhile. She says the recent World Heritage Committee meeting in Seville was very positive about the project.

The Tekapo township is home to six telescopes, including the country's biggest which can observe 50-million stars on a clear night, and the area is being promoted as a mixed site, with nature and bio-diversity that should be preserved and maintained.

Ms Austin says it would be a significant investment in the regions future, as it would become one of the world's first starlight reserves. She says they are in the process of seeking government funding to help the concept win UNESCO approval next year.

- Newstalk ZB

- Newstalk ZB

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