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Whanganui named Most Beautiful City in KNZB Beautiful Awards

24 October 2019

Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) have announced the winners of this year’s Beautiful Awards at a gala dinner held at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin this evening.

Whanganui was crowned the Most Beautiful City as well as winning the award for Best Street. The winners for Most Beautiful Large and Small Town awards went to Cambridge and Waihi, respectively. The Most Beautiful Towns and Cities finalists were judged by KNZB’s CEO, Heather Saunderson, and celebrity chef Michael Van de Elzen.

Michael loved the fact that everyone in Whanganui was getting involved in making the city better, from the local council to the surrounding iwi. “The recycling centre was just incredible and really set Whanganui apart – I wish every town and city could have one,” says Michael.

The Beautiful Awards is an annual competition that recognises the environmental excellence of individuals, groups, businesses and schools.

Eleven other awards were presented at the ceremony to individuals, businesses, communities and places to celebrate their environmental excellence across New Zealand. Lower Hutt City, a finalist and strong competitor against Whanganui for Most Beautiful City, was given the Outstanding Service Award for their continuous and well-rounded efforts to become environmentally sustainable.

KNZB’s CEO Heather Saunderson says, “The selected finalists have each demonstrated bold leadership in implementing innovative sustainable projects that help reduce their environmental footprint and build resilient towns and cities. These towns and cities are truly leading the way in tackling a variety of environmental issues, and we believe that their call to action will inspire others to create change.”

Beautiful Awards 2019

Full List of Winners

Beautiful Towns and Cities

These awards recognise and celebrate beautiful towns and cities across New Zealand whose councils are making strides towards enhancing their local environments. These prestigious awards review initiatives such as litter prevention/waste minimisation, community beautification projects and sustainable tourism attractions. The winners of each award demonstrated a strong community spirit and have created an environment that other towns and cities would aspire to have!

Most Beautiful Small Town

Finalists: Waihi, Hanmer Springs

Winner: Waihi

A finalist in last year’s award for Most Beautiful Small Town, Waihi takes the win this year because of their measurable strides towards sustainability, waste management and beautification. In the past year, they have more than doubled the number of volunteers who attend community clean ups. In March 2019, the local council funded a Waihi initiative to end period poverty by funding the cost of 600 menstrual cups. Finally, this past year, Waihi started the Town Portraits Project, which aims to bring inspirational people from Waihi’s past to life through a series of portraits scattered around the town on currently blank walls.

Most Beautiful Large Town

Finalists: Cambridge, Pukekohe

Winner: Cambridge

With over 10 trees per resident, Cambridge is known as the Town of Trees. In addition to their Tree Trust, the district council and volunteer groups have made a combined effort to preserve historical buildings, beautify the town with murals and light fixtures, and implement programs to help reduce people’s need for single-use products such as bags and nappies.

Most Beautiful City

Finalists: Lower Hutt City, Whanganui

Winner: Whanganui

Whanganui is motivated to reduce waste and implement sustainability projects in their community, and local groups are helping to make this happen. Through the city council starting an anti-dumping campaign, many beautification events, improved recycling projects and sustainable tourism initiatives, it is clear that the Whanganui community has banded together over the past year and gone above and beyond to help their city.

Outstanding Service Award

Winner: Lower Hutt City

In many ways, Lower Hutt City has been dedicated to keeping their community beautiful. The people of Lower Hutt City have maintained an annual clean up week over the past 30 years and are still making changes and creating new groups to help reduce waste. They represent what it means to facilitate ongoing, committed service, and this is the very reason why they were chosen to receive this award.

Community Awards

Klean Kanteen Community Environmental Initiative Award

This award honours innovative projects that have achieved extraordinary environmental results by harnessing the power of partnership.

Finalists: Sea Walls Tairawhiti, RefillNZ, Palmy’s Plastic Pollution Challenge

Winner: RefillNZ

RefillNZ has taken a collaborative, community-centred approach to the plastic bottle problem. They are doing this by working with cafes, health organisations and councils to provide water bottle refill stations in businesses across New Zealand. By making tap water the drink of choice, they are also helping people reduce their need to purchase single use plastic water bottles.

Community Group Award

This award recognises and honours a not-for-profit community group that contributes to enhancing the environmental and social aspects of their region and shows a strong sense of community spirit.

Finalists: World Mission Society Church of God, For Our Real Clean Environment (FORCE), Friends of the Waiwhetu

Winner: FORCE

For Our Clean Environment, also known as FORCE, organises a monthly clean up group and with over 30 volunteers they have already cleared over 10,000kgs of rubbish from the Whangarei district. In addition to the clean ups, FORCE has also partnered with other environmental organisations like Matariki Tu Rākau, who bring communities together to create living memorials and plant trees as part of the One Billion Tree Programme.

Sustainable Schools Award, proudly sponsored by New Zealand Couriers

The Sustainable Schools Award honours an ECE, school or tertiary institution for commitment and practical action to implement sustainable practices and environmental projects, which enhance the school and/or community. Winners of the Sustainable Schools Award receive $500 to go towards environmental initiatives within their school.

Finalists: Francis Douglas Memorial College (New Plymouth), Rangiruru Girls School (Christchurch) Salisbury School (Richmond)

Winner: Francis Douglas Memorial College

Two groups of boys from Francis Douglas Memorial College involved in a future and community problem solving course decided to tackle the issues of unhealthy eating due to poverty and bettering recycling efforts in their school. To get funding for the edible forest for project #1, the boys sold $40 pledges to people in their community, which earned buyers a fruit tree planted in their name with a plaque made of recycled materials in front. To better their recycling system, they created miniature greenhouses from the plastic bottles that fit over garden beds to donate to people in their community.

Business Awards

Most Sustainable Business Award

The award for most sustainable business goes to a business that not only has environmental initiatives currently in place, but also has a three to five year vision plan.

Finalists: The Rubbish Whisperer, CaliWoods, Eastern Drycleaners

Winner: The Rubbish Whisperer

The Rubbish Whisperer has been busy this year doing outstanding work to reduce New Zealand’s single-use plastics. They have replaced over 1.2 million plastic straws with paper this year. Their sales of reusable produce bags this past year will save over 9 million plastic bags, and this year they tapped into a new market: reusable water balloons and reusable sandwich wraps. In their community, they have partnered up with Remix Plastic to educate and empower students to live more sustainably. Internally, they have sourced second hand office supplies from Creative Junk, sourced pens made of recycled paper and plastic, reused shipping boxes, and all fabric waste produced from manufacturing is either donated to Early Childhood Education Centres, reused, or recycled properly.

Most Sustainable Business Project

This award honours New Zealand businesses who have achieved extraordinary results through an environmental or sustainability project in the past 12 months.

Finalists: Vendella, Remix Plastic Project by Clever Green Ltd

Winner: Vendella

Vendella is doing a lot of great work in the New Zealand accommodation sector to become more sustainable and reduce environmental impact. Their Dreamticket bedding products are filled with an ultra-fine, hypo-allergenic, luxury microfibre which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Over the past year, this micro-fibre fill, that is included in thirty of their products, has saved 2,151,621 500ml plastic bottles from oceans and landfills.

Individual Awards

Tidy Kiwi Award

The Tidy Kiwi Award recognises and rewards an individual aged over 18 years (as of July 31 2019) who has distinguished himself of herself as truly extraordinary and serves as an inspiration to us all. This award honours outstanding and exceptional leadership in litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and beautification activities.

Finalists: Nick Connop & Karen Lee, Kenny McCracken, Alan Pope

Winner: Alan Pope

A law enforcement officer in Lower Hutt City, Alan has succeeded in achieving 1200 infringements regarding the Litter Act Law. According to his peers, Alan has been a staunch supporter of Keep Lower Hutt Beautiful through attending annual Clean-Up week events and helping to address the problems regarding proper cardboard collection.

Young Legend Award

The Young Legend Award honours an outstanding volunteer who is aged under 18 (as of July 31 2019). This exceptional young man or woman will have demonstrated remarkable leadership and outreach in his or her community through work in one or more of the following areas; litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling promotion, community beautification.

Finalists: Sarah Nicholls, E Wen Wong, Rosetta Brown

Winner: Sarah Nicholls

Sarah was the Volunteer of the Month in May. At just seven years old, she has been active in her community of Mangere Bridge in Auckland by organising a street clean up. On the day of the street clean up, she partnered with Friends of the Farm and local businesses who sponsored a sausage sizzle and a fruit basket raffle. Together, Sarah’s community gathered four big bins of rubbish and recycling, which was sorted with the help of a rubbish expert.

Local Hero Award

The Local Hero Award acknowledges extraordinary contributions made by New Zealanders in their local community for high standards in social and environmental practices. The recipient is selected by the hosting branch committee, as such, there is no entry process for this particular award.

Winner: Laura Cope

Places Awards

Best Loo Award, proudly sponsored by Plumbing World

This award recognises the best public toilet in the country. Judges take into consideration the location, facilities, cleanliness, interior, exterior and the surrounding environment of the toilets.

Finalists: Colac Bay Toilet (Invercargill), Port Ohope Wharf Permaloo (Eastern Bay of Plenty), Spa Park (Taupo)

Winner: Colac Bay Toilet

Developed from a recycled shipping container, the public toilet at Colac Bay was given a “Southland Vibe” with mixed-media imagery on the exterior with the help of local photographers, hand drawn sketches and text. This was the first of four revamped toilets to be constructed by the Southland District Council.

Best Street Award, proudly sponsored by Resene

This award recognises and celebrates a street in New Zealand that clearly stands out for its beauty, cleanliness, plantings and sense of community pride.

Finalists: Greytown Main Street (Wairarapa), Ridgway Street (Whanganui), Seymour Avenue (Nelson)

Winner: Ridgway Street, Whanganui

Ridgway Street is full of heritage buildings, offering a full representation of architectural styles between 1860 and 1960. There is a park in the centre of a street where a fire took down an old building, but the local council has beautified it with a three-storey mural on the building that overlooks the park. Their environmental, planting and beautification initiatives include a drinking fountain, and turning the park into a communal pop-up space. They created a live music stage out of wooden pallets and a shade sail, a community garden with the help of Common Ground Coffee, and flower beds. In March 2019, Whanganui held its first Whanganui Walls Festival. Using Resene paint, artists employed more environmentally friendly practices by using spray guns to minimise impact to create eight beautiful murals on heritage building walls.

Kiwi’s Choice Award, proudly sponsored by Resene

Anyone in New Zealand can nominate his or her favourite public spot to win the Kiwi’s Choice Award. It could be a beach, a park or a lookout a waterfall, a lake or a walking track. The award is presented to the local council who governs the winning location.

Finalists: Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park, Otumuheke Hot Stream

Winner: Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park

The community of Ohakune wanted to transform this once railway siding and large wasteland into and activity area. The park is complete with electric BBQs, sheltered park benches and log seating, walkways with native plants, a playground with a bike track, and cartoon vegetables fashioned out of high-density polystyrene and fiberglass.

Blue Flag Supreme Best Practice Award

Finalists: Outboard Boating Club Auckland, Westhaven Marina, The Landing, Orakei Marina

Winner: Outboarding Boating Club Auckland


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