Arrowtown Is Officially New Zealand's Most Beautiful Small Town
Arrowtown folk are thrilled with last week’s announcement that Arrowtown is officially New Zealand’s most beautiful small town.
This Keep New Zealand Beautiful award comes after years of community and business advocacy for the unique heritage and environmental qualities of Arrowtown.
The Keep New Zealand Beautiful entry was a team effort led by Heath Copland, QLDC Arrowtown Ward Councillor, members of the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association (APBA), and Arrowtown Village Association put together the case for judging with a video voiced by locals available on YouTube.
The Beautiful Awards celebrate the environmental excellence of communities, businesses, schools and individuals in New Zealand. Arrowtown demonstrated a range of key attributes to the judges, including sustainable and environmentally conscious behaviours across four key areas: Litter Prevention and Waste Minimisation, Community Beautification, Recycling Projects and Sustainable Tourism.
Arrowtown’s entry showed the judges that we are a caring and inclusive community and locals have a genuine love for that town. The community is founded on the natural environment and the unique blend of old and new, with repurposed heritage buildings dwarfed below magnificent trees. The blend of locals and visitors and the authentic feel of the town had a strong impact.
Another key aspect was the work of volunteers across the town. In fact, none of the environmental or heritage work could have happened without the power of hard working and passionate volunteers from across the community.
Projects of note included the restoration and repurposing of heritage buildings and the recent programme to provide heritage lighting help protect the history of the town and tell the story of the gold-mining heritage.
Another was the restoration of the natural environment in Arrowtown and the surrounding Mahu Whenua high country stations by removing invasive species such as wilding pines. This has been an immense task and a fine example of community-led environmental restoration. The Arrowtown Wilding Group have raised government and community funds with work being done by the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme to remove wildings from the countryside surrounding Arrowtown. At the same time, local volunteers from the Arrowtown Choppers do their bit to remove pines during working bees.
Predator Free Arrowtown traps pests and now birdsong is returning as more native birds thrive. The planting of thousands of natives and some non-invasive exotics to reforest areas on the town’s outskirts by community group the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust is well supported in the Spring plantings, this year involving over 200 volunteers planting 3000 new seedlings.
Even Arrowtown Preschool’s nature-based programmes involve 40 children learning about the natural world and sustainability in local reserves.
While there’s still plenty of work to be done, and plenty of people willing to give up their time to do it, the award proves what locals have known all along – Arrowtown is New Zealand’s most beautiful small town.