Nalayini’s interest in astronomy was sparked in her childhood by naked eye stargazing with her grandfather which included viewing a bright comet and total solar eclipse. This interest eventually led to her a Masters degree in astronomy from Swinburne University in Melbourne; becoming the chairperson of Astronz, established by Auckland Astronomical Society to make astronomy more accessible to New Zealanders, for the past 6 years; and being elected as the current Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ).
In the decades in between, she has pursued a professional career spanning many facets of the finance and banking industry and for the past 20 years has been working for Vinstar, founded by her and her husband, an award-winning international economic advisory consultancy with work experience in over 35 countries. Nalayini is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Masters degree in Economics from the London Business School, University of London.
She has been an advocate of dark skies and she was instrumental in establishing Aotea/Great Barrier Island as an IDA International Dark Sky Sanctuary. She continues to assist numerous communities around New Zealand in their efforts to measure the darkness of their skies and establish and/or operate themselves as accredited dark sky locations.
Nalayini has spoken on dark sky preservation issues at conferences in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. With Professor John Hearnshaw, she co-chaired the 2019 Starlight Conference at Tekapo and contributes astronomy articles to various New Zealand publications on an on-going basis. She has a collaborative working relationship with Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park in Wales, United Kingdom and Cosmic Campgrounds International Dark Sky Sanctuary, New Mexico, USA. She is a member of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and a current co-chair of its International Awards Committee.