People who are searching for the perfect place to watch the stars can now consider a trip to the small island nation of Niue. It is the first country in the world to get the Dark Sky status – something given out by the IDA, or International Dark-Sky Association. This non-profit organization is based in the U.S. and is dedicated to reducing light pollution. It even celebrates Dark Sky week in late April to help people get to a place where light pollution is minimal and the night sky can be observed in its full glory.
Viewing the Sky from a Dark Sky Destination Is a Rare Treat
The organization has given the Dark Sky status to lots of places around the world, including the Mount John Observatory in New Zealand and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. But what is so special about Niue? Well, the small island nation is the first to have its entire country recognized as a Dark Sky zone by the IDA.
The remote democratic island of Niue is 1,500 miles northeast of New Zealand, somewhere between the Cook Islands and Fiji. It is probably the least visited country on Earth, and even though it is considered its own country, New Zealand has been representing it when it comes to world diplomacy since 1974, and all Niueans also have New Zealand citizenship. The nation was recognized by the U.N. as late as 1994.
Niue Was Honored by the Dark Sky Designation
To get the Dark Sky nation designation is a huge honor for Niue and its people. It is also a token of recognition for the fourteen small villages in Niue are all equipped with energy-efficient streetlights that help reduce light pollution to a minimum. The night sky and the stars have enormous significance to the Niueans and their way of life, from both cultural, health, and environmental perspectives. Now that it’s a Dark Sky nation, its beautiful night sky will be protected for both the visitors of the country and the future generations of Niueans.
People who are interested in witnessing the magnificent star-filled sky above Niue can reach the island by boarding the daily flights from New Zealand, which is most tourists’ preferred method of transportation to get to the island. The destination is also great for people who love enjoying the great outdoors during the day or at night.
The International Dark-Sky Association has many destinations that are Dark Sky designated, and perhaps more small nations could follow in the step of Niue and preserve the beauty of their night sky.