Dark Sky Place of the Year Award
Each year, a single International Dark Sky Place will be awarded the title of Dark Sky Place (Park, Reserve, Community, or Sanctuary) of the Year. This award is given in recognition of a recent exceptional achievement to an IDSP that has been established for at least 3 years. For example, an IDSP could be recognized for a major reduction in lighting inside or near the IDSP, for IDSP led adoption of stricter lighting codes by communities in the buffer zones or in a major city within 100 km distance, for especially innovative or successful programs or actions within the IDSP, or for major contributions to the IDSP program.
The Dark Sky Place of the Year Award is presented to Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDSR) is among the world leaders in both the protection of dark night skies on the landscape scale and communicating the value and the fragility of this resource to the public. Since its designation in 2012, the Reserve, under the guidance of its Board, has increased visitor volume — rising lately at around 10% per year — while providing a diverse palette of options for those visitors to access the night sky, including guided night sky tours and the annual Starlight Festival. Ground was recently broken in Tekapo for the construction of a new, NZ $10 million International Astronomy Centre, which when completed in 2019 will be a top-notch education facility among International Dark Sky Places. And finally, the Reserve continues to pursue outdoor lighting policies and practices throughout the Mackenzie district that contribute positively toward maintaining dark nighttime conditions, despite the rapidly rising popularity of the area among astro-tourists.