Private Plan Change Process Underway

In order to protect the natural darkness of the sky across the district, the Kaikōura Dark Sky Trust are preparing a private plan change to the Kaikōura District Plan to better manage outdoor lighting in the district that has the potential to cause light pollution and impact the exceptional dark sky qualities in the future. 

The Trust are applying to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for the Kaikōura District to be formally recognised as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary.  The Kaikōura District experiences little light pollution, and this makes it an incredible place to view the night sky which we would like to help protect for future generations.

The private plan change will ensure that:

  • Any new lighting established complies with the IDA guidelines enabling Dark Sky Sanctuary status to be obtained.
  • Light pollution and adverse effects on the visibility and clarity of the night sky on the Kaikōura District are minimalised.

The plan change is an important step in the process to gain accreditation but more importantly to help manage, reduce and limit light pollution in the district. We will not be in the dark but will strive towards more responsible lighting. 

The changes to the district plan may include news controls that manage:

  • Shielding and tilting of lighting
  • Colour temperature of lighting
  • Illuminated signs

The Trust has engaged Kāhu Environmental, Planning Consultants, to help us prepare this plan change.  As of March 2023, they are just beginning to draft provisions and material associated with the proposal and we are reaching out to seek the input of the community and key stakeholders early in this process. 

Here is an overview of the Plan Change process 

Production - Diagram

We would love to receive any initial comments or positions you have on the concept of an International Dark Sky Sanctuary for the district.  We would also like to understand if, and how, you would like to be engaged with this project, and we value any ideas or opportunities for your involvement. 

Any comments can be emailed to We can also arrange for you to talk with the Planning Consultants at Kahu Environmental.

Nicky McArthur (Chair of the Kaikoura Dark Sky Trust)

Colette Doughty (Project Coordinator)

The Kaikōura Dark Sky Trust

Photo credit Dr Larry Field

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