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 Heritage classification for observatory

July 6, 2020 July 2020 No Comments

Iconic Carkeek Observatory a key part of Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve development plans

The unique and historic Stephen Carkeek Observatory near Featherston will play a key role in developing the Wairarapa’s dark sky reserve, the promotion group said today.

Wairarapa’s Dark Sky Association was commenting on the Heritage New Zealand decision to classify the 1867-built observatory as a Category 1 Heritage site on its New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero.

Efforts begun in 2017 by the Martinborough Dark Sky Society (now Wairarapa Dark Sky Association) to ensure protection and preservation of the remains of the oldest obervatory in the country, have been rewarded with the nation’s top historic listing, chairperson Viv Napier said.

“Having the site recognised and listed will ensure that it will be preserved and recognised nationally _ and internationally _ as an important historical structure,” Ms Napier said.

The dark sky group is also excited about a proposal to create a replica alongside the original observatory for visitors to “experience and enjoy the wonderful skies that amateur astronomer Stephen Carkeek viewed above his farm more than 150 years ago.”

Napier said Wairarapa Dark Sky Association “would love to create a replica which can be visited by the community.”

  “We are keen to work with South Wairarapa District Council, as owners of the site, to preserve and improve the site for future generations of astronomers,” she said.   

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