Following our earlier work investigating the feasibility of dark sky designations for Southland, Xyst was asked to prepare the application for the Rakiura – Stewart Island Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Sanctuaries are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world where conservation state is most fragile.
Xyst prepared a GIS data collection project to identify the exisiting exterior light sources on the island and trained community volunteers to collect the data using our mobile GIS data collection tool. We assessed the quality of the night sky using a Sky Quality Meter at a variety of sites in the populated area of Rakiura (we spotted a few Kiwi too!) which confirmed the pristine quality of the night sky on Rakiura.
We prepared a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding between Ngai Tahu, the Department of Conservation, Southland District Council and the Economic Development Agency GreatSouth to work together to protect the night sky and administer the proposed Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Finally we produced an extensive application that resulted in the Rakiura – Stewart Island Dark Sky Sanctuary being created in 2019; one of only a handful of such sanctuaries in the world.