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Steve Butler Wins International Award!

Steve Butler, the Chair of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve has won an International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) award.

Steve received the IDA’s Dr. Arthur Hoag and William T. Robinson Award on 17th October 2022. The award is given to an outstanding individual who has educated governmental organisations, businesses, and the public about the merits of outdoor lighting control ordinances.

"The expansion of housing and commerce in the Mackenzie reserve means it is more important than ever that we all manage our lighting to limit the impact on the night sky and our environment.”

Steve Butler, Astronomer and Chair of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve board


Steve has been advocating for dark skies and raising awareness of the impacts of light pollution for over 30 years. He has a Diploma in Environmental Management from Auckland University, worked for the Department of Conservation in planning and resource management, and is an amateur astronomer and former president of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. Butler helped develop design protocols, lighting guidelines, and ordinances for the Mackenzie Region and was a key member of a working party that resulted in the IDA’s recognition of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012. His advocacy also led to IDA recognition of three more dark sky places in New Zealand: Dark Sky Sanctuaries Great Barrier Island and Rakiura Stewart Island as well as Dark Sky Park Wai-iti in the Tasman District.

Image: Dark Sky Sanctuary Rakiura Stewart Island by Sandra Whipp

The International Dark-Sky Association is a United States-based non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving and protecting the night time environment and the heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting. Their annual awards recognise and celebrate the incredible achievements of individuals and groups who are committed to the IDA’s mission of preserving the night.

Steve's award celebrates his tireless work behind the scenes to protect our treasured night skies. Congratulations Steve and may your great work continue!

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