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RE: Mount John Observatory
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We owe a lot to the alleged sheep stealer and folk hero James McKenzie. Aided by his cunning sheepdog, Friday, McKenzie is alleged to have stolen sheep from the Levels station near Timaru and driven them across a pass to the hinterland now called the Mackenzie Country (named to honour the Scottish-born shepherd, despite the variance in spelling). Following McKenzie's capture in 1855, run holders were quick to move in on this previously little-known territory.
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Night Sky Reserve Site
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New Zealand has been accepted as one of five world heritage night sky reserve sites for the UNESCO world heritage meeting in Rio de Janeiro next year.
The Tekapo-Aoraki/Mt Cook night sky bid presented by former Cabinet minister Margaret Austin was unanimously supported by the UNESCO meeting in Santa Cruz, the Canaries, yesterday.

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An expanded New Zealand working party has been formed to ensure the Tekapo bid to become world night-sky reserve is successful, former Cabinet minister Margaret Austin said today.
The working party, which becomes part of the Mackenzie Tourism and Development Trust, will elect a chair and set its tasks at the first meeting in July.

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Tekapo Starlight Reserve
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New Zealand is pushing forward with its bid to make Tekapo the world's first night sky reserve.
Former cabinet minister Margaret Austin, who is chairwoman of New Zealand's Starlight Reserve committee, has been in Paris attending the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) meeting.

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L

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RE: Mount John Observatory
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Lonely Planet might not have heard of it but the best place in the world to watch the night sky is right here in New Zealand the Mackenzie Country.
The travel publisher's Best in Travel guide fails to mention the area and yet next year the area is set to become the first ever "World Heritage Starlight Reserve" declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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Lake Tekapo's Mount John Observatory is being proposed as the centre of a heritage park in the sky.
 New Zealand is racing to achieve the lofty ambition of securing the world's first United Nations heritage park in the sky.
The University of Canterbury and other members of the South Island scientific community have begun work promoting the Mount John University Observatory and the broader Tekapo region as a unique United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) world heritage park in the night sky.
The Canary Islands, the United States and Chile are also believed to be in the running for the prize.
Supporters of the plan say, if successful, it will put New Zealand on the map as a place for astronomers to conduct research. It will also open up a lucrative astro-tourism industry, with stargazers from around the world enjoying the clear skies and low light pollution of the Mackenzie Basin.

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Mount John University Observatory, New Zealand, is situated at an altitude of 1,031 metres on Mount John at the northern end of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand.
The observatory consists of four telescopes: two 0.6m, one 1.0m, and a 1.8m 'MOA Telescope'.
The nearest population centre is the resort town Lake Tekapo.
The observatory was officially opened on 10 July 1965 and is operated by Canterbury University.

Mount John University Observatory

Latitude 43 deg 59.2 min S; Longitude 170 deg 27.9 min E

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