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Our People

The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (AMIDSR) is managed by a board of dedicated people with wide ranging skills and interests. Our purpose is to preserve the dark sky reserve, provide outreach and education, promote star-gazing and astro-tourism, and protect astronomical research at Mt John University Observatory.

Our Mission

To maintain formal accreditation as a Dark Sky Reserve from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), by working with key stakeholders and engaging with local communities to preserve the quality of the natural night skies through responsible lighting policies, actions, and public education.

Our Vision

That the quality of the natural night skies of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve are protected against light pollution – now and in perpetuity – and the reserve is recognised in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally as a centre for astro-tourism and public education.

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Steve Butler

Chair of the AMIDSR Board

President and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ), leader of the RASNZ DarkSkies Group, and member of the International Dark-Sky Association.

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Prof John Hearnshaw


Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

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Bruce Mincham


Representing the community of Twizel. 

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Cr Kerry Bellringer

Mackenzie District Council

Representative of the Mackenzie District Council

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Gavin 'Snow' Loxton

Farmer and Environmentalist

Gavin manages Sawdon Station near Lake Tekapo.

Victoria Campbell

Victoria Campbell


Representing Maori perspectives on Astronomy. Kāi/Ngāi Tahu.


Alan Gilmore


Past Superintendent of Mt John Observatory, Manager of the Reserve, Lake Tekapo.


Hon Margaret Austin


Office of Patron and Project leader for AMIDSR. Advisor on world heritage issues. Companion of NZ Order of Merit.

Amy Menard

Amy Menard

Skylark Creative

Administration, website and marketing.

Ursula Paul

Ursula Paul

Department of Conservation

Representative for the  Department of Conservation.


Michele Banister 

University of Canterbury

Lecturer in astrophysics at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.       

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Adrien Vilquin Barrajon

Dark Sky Project

Adrien works for Dark Sky Project in Takapō and has dedicated his career to the public outreach of astronomy.

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