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Ex-cop carrying out painstaking restoration of famous telescope in the Mackenzie Country

New Zealand is known for its clean, green image abroad - but now it's also recognised for its clean darkness.

The Mackenzie Country has one of the best night skies in the world - and it's on the way to becoming a major tourist attraction.

At the centre of the project is one of the world's most famous telescopes - being restored, as we speak, by an ex-cop.

Seven Sharp's Julian Lee ventured into the heart of the South Island, to have a look watch the video above.

The Mackenzie Country has one of the best night skies in the world. Source: Seven Sharp