Oxford Forest Conservation Area, spanning 11,350 hectares, is now the newest International Dark Sky Park in New Zealand, certified by DarkSky International. The recognition is due to the community’s commitment to practical lighting policies, education on better lighting, and local efforts to reduce light pollution.
Initiated in early 2023 by Oxford residents, the volunteer group Oxford Dark Sky, consisting of over 20 local organizations, played a key role in achieving this designation. The park’s dark sky measurements exceed the required threshold, providing an unparalleled view of the Milky Way from anywhere in Oxford.
Local support is growing, and discussions about collaboration with neighboring areas are underway. The effort, praised by Dark Sky Places Program Manager Amber Harrison, showcases how community collaboration, education, and outreach can drive change. The Oxford Dark Sky Park is open to the public year-round, offering one of the darkest and most accessible dark sky experiences in New Zealand, just an hour away from Christchurch. Visit here for more information on the International Dark Sky Places program.
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