International Dark Sky Reserves ~ a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment mission of a large peripheral area. The International Dark Sky Reserve consists of a core area meeting the minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky values in the core and receives benefits from them as well. The International Dark Sky Reserve is formed through a partnership of multiple land owners and/or administrators that have recognized the value of the starry night through regulation and/or formal agreement and/or long term planning.

The IDSReserve program is the epitome of IDA's mission. Working to preserve a central core that is valuable because of its natural night, communities band together to create public awareness campaigns and conduct retrofits to restore the night sky. Each reserve shown below has gone above and beyond the requirements as stated in our International Dark Sky Reserve Guidelines.

Aoraki Mackenzie Reserve

Gold
 

Gold
Tier

Aoraki Mackenzie Reserve

New Zealand

Established 2012

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Map of Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve

Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve backgrounder

Over 1,600 square miles of New Zealand’s South Island have just been proclaimed as an International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the largest in the world. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR), comprised of the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin, is the fourth such dark sky reserve in the world.
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 The Church of the Good Shepherd. Photo by Fraser Gunn