Aotea / Great Barrier Island has been a Dark Sky Sanctuary since 2017 and was the first island in the world to be granted such status from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
There is no electricity supply or streetlights on Aotea / Great Barrier Island, which means light pollution is minimal, creating spectacular conditions for stargazing.
Since being designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, the island has embraced the status and has been attracting astrotourists from all around the world.
Astrotourism is particularly good for the island’s economy during the winter months when tourist numbers typically drop off. The skies getting darker earlier, means there are more hours to stargaze, the kids can get involved and avid astrophotographers have more time to achieve that perfect shot.
Astrophotography on the island on the island has proved so popular that the Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board is supporting Destination Great Barrier and Aotea Great Barrier Dark Sky Sanctuary to run an astrophotography competition.
2020 Aotea Great Barrier Island Astrophotography Competition is open now and runs through until 31 August 2020.
Competition organiser Annabel Marshall says they are running the competition over winter because the sky is especially amazing to photograph then because of how visible the Milky Way is.
“We thought holding the competition would encourage visitors to our island during the winter months with a purpose in mind. Since the 2020 competition has been advertised we've already heard from most of last year's entrants who are keen to enter again,” she says.
There is prize money to be won and the opportunity for the top entrants to be part of an exhibition at the Great Barrier Island Community Heritage & Arts Village in October.
Find out more about the competition including the rules, prizes and how to enter at the competition website.