Prepared by Alison Gardner, Editor, Pasifik Currents
“Darkness is not something to fear,” declares Peter Dockrill in an announcement that appeared on the Science Alert website on 12 March 2020. “In a world increasingly plagued by the menace of unnatural light, darkness is an ideal to strive for – a threatened state we need to restore and protect wherever we can.”
This core belief lies at the heart of the International Dark Sky Association, a conservation non-profit charged with preserving the naturally dark night-time environment. As part of its ongoing mission, the organisation has just announced an important world-first, declaring that the tiny South Pacific nation of Niue is the first country to be formally accredited as an International Dark Sky Place.
“The people of Niue are understandably proud and delighted to receive such an important acknowledgement from the International Dark-Sky Association,” says Niue Tourism CEO, Felicity Bollen. “To be the first whole country to become a dark sky nation is a massive accomplishment for a small Pacific nation with a population of just over 1,600.”
The island does not have to do much to set up stargazing spots for visitors. Bollen says that established whale-watching viewing sites throughout the island can easily double as stargazing spots for visitors and that guided astro-tours will be bookable by trained Niuean community members. Niue Tourism even has a webpage dedicated to Stargazing.
The island nation of Niue is in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 km northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands. To read more about the rich tapestry of starry highlights viewable from Niue’s latitude, and stargazing tours planned for 2021, check out these references: