Lake Hawea residents are considering how to protect their view of the night sky from light pollution. Photo by Mark Price.
How to minimise light pollution dominated discussion at a
meeting of the Lake Hawea Community Association at the
President Dennis Hughes said yesterday, while the association
had not yet decided on a course of action, the 68 people who
attended wanted more information about the impact of public
lighting on night-sky views.
''It is really quite fascinating. It really captured the
There was a strong feeling the night sky was special and ''we
should be doing everything we can to enhance our ability to
view the night sky'', Mr Hughes said.
The meeting discussed the impact of street lighting and
commercial lighting, and the availability of LED lights with
more ''downward shading''.
''There is a whole series of aspects that should be looked
at,'' Mr Hughes said.
''The initial thing is to become far better informed.''
Interest in light pollution was sparked by Lake Hawea
resident Richard Prout, who produced an 11-minute video for
Mr Prout told the Otago Daily Times his interest in
light pollution arose when a property developer installed a
street light outside a house he rented at Lake Hawea and
''wrecked'' his view of the night sky.
''It never occurred to me I was going to lose the Milky Way
... I was going to lose satellites and meteors.''
After Mr Prout drew the problem to the attention of the
developer, she found more suitable, but more expensive, ''low
spill'' lights for the rest of the subdivision.
Mr Prout then lobbied another developer, who also agreed to
install better lighting.
He calculated that if all the country's 330,000 street lights
were replaced, in addition to improving the view of the night
sky, the saving in electricity would be equivalent to half
the electricity generated from the 8m of storage capacity in
He recognised views of the night sky were only one thing
lighting engineers had to take into account when choosing
street lighting, Mr Prout said.
There were also things such as safety, crime, maintenance and
But he hoped that as existing lights came to the end of their
life they would be replaced with more efficient ones.
Queenstown Lakes District Council senior engineer transport
infrastructure and assets Richard Hilliard said the council
was guided by its lighting strategy document, Southern
Lights, adopted in 2006.
Because of technological advances in street lighting, the
document was not ''rigidly adhered to'' because better
solutions had become available ''that still adhere to the
philosophy and intent of the document'', Mr Hilliard said.