12 Jul 2009

Starlight reserve group seeks world heritage listing

7:43 am on 12 July 2009

A South Island group working to create a 'starlight reserve' in the Tekapo region says it needs help from the Government.

A starlight reserve is a site dedicated to defending the quality of the night sky view by stopping light and air pollution.

The Mackenzie Starlight Reserve planning group wants a reserve in the Tekapo-Aoraki/Mt Cook area to be given official World Heritage Site recognition.

Chairperson Margaret Austin says they need financial support from the Government to help promote the site at an upcoming World Heritage Committee meeting. The group is not yet sure how much that will cost.

Ms Austin says 1.4 million people visit Tekapo each year, and protecting the site would increase tourism and conservation opportunities.

The observatory at Mt John, near Tekapo, is regarded as the best in New Zealand for viewing the night sky.