Dark Sky Sanctuary

Our skies are spectacular. Aotea/Great Barrier Island is the first island in the world to receive International Dark Sky Sanctuary status.

We are committed to protecting our outstanding night sky. Sanctuaries are in remote areas with few threats to the exceptional quality of their starry nights . Aotea/Great Barrier Island is a unique place where our isolation, our small resident population and our being off-the-grid means we can preserve and protect our night sky for future generations to enjoy. We are committed to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) principles and requirements for maintaining our island as a Dark Sky Sanctuary.

We live with an exceptional night sky. The Milky Way spans our Southern Hemisphere sky and the Magellanic Clouds, not visible in the Northern Hemisphere, are easily seen. The night sky is woven into Maori culture with Matariki, the rise of the Pleiades constellation, signalling the Maori New Year. The night sky is a sight residents already share with visitors but the spectacular nature of the Island sky deserves to be shared with the world.

Announcing the 2019 Aotea Great Barrier Astrophotography Competition. The competition is open to any photographer and has a $2,500 first prize! Get the details here.

If you would like to know more about the planets, the stars, galaxies, constellations, and nebula, join a guided star gazing evening with one of our Dark Sky Ambassadors. An evening with the stars is suitable for both children and adults and will include guided telescope viewing of the wonders of the universe as well as amazing astronomical facts and figures.

Dark Sky Experience