Hastings has been named the most beautiful place in New Zealand, with Arrowtown, Hamilton and Whanganui all earning honourable mentions.
The Hawke's Bay township took out two accolades at the annual Beautiful Awards, which celebrate environmental excellence and recognise the positive actions that protect and enhance local environments.
Hastings won the prizes of Most Beautiful Large Town and the Supreme Town/City award at the virtual awards ceremony, hosted by anti-litter agency Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB).
The town will receive a community mural valued at $10,000 as its prize.
"Out of all the towns and cities we visited, Hastings ranked the highest for community beautification but also excelled across every other criteria, making it the clear winner of the Supreme Award," said KNZB chief executive Heather Saunderson.
Meanwhile, the Most Beautiful Small Town went to Arrowtown, Whanganui won Most Beautiful Small City and Hamilton took home Most Beautiful Large City.
Saunderson said Whanganui and Hamilton's similarities prompted KNZB to split the Most Beautiful City award and have two winners.
"They are both river cities, they have a huge focus on the arts and beautification, and both have well established top-of-the-line recycling facilities," she explained.
"The only tangible difference between the two is scale, so we decided to do something a bit different this year and award them both with the Most Beautiful City award."
The ceremony's other awards went to the Hunua Falls Toilets for Best Loo, to Victoria Street in Cambridge for Best Street and to the Ruakari Bush Walk, which took out the Kiwi's Choice Award.
Last year, Most Beautiful Small Town went to Waihi, Cambridge won Most Beautiful Large Town, Whanganui took out the Most Beautiful City accolade and Lower Hutt City won the now-defunct Outstanding Service Award.
Full list of 2020 Beautiful Award winners:
- Most Beautiful Small Town: Arrowtown
- Most Beautiful Large Town: Hastings
- Most Beautiful Small City: Whanganui
- Most Beautiful Large City: Hamilton
- Supreme Towns & Cities Winner: Hastings
- Best Loo: Hunua Falls Toilet
- Best Street: Victoria Street, Cambridge
- Kiwi's Choice: Ruakuri Bush WalkCommunity
- Community Environmental Initiative Award: Tarata Stream Team
- Community Group Award: Progress Castlecliff
- Sustainable Schools: Aparima College
- Most Sustainable Business: Sport Wellington
- Tidy Kiwis: Susan Hodkinson, Des Watson, Gary Mitchell
- Young Legend: Jessica Lamb, Joe Howells, Oli Kirke
- Local Hero: Katherine Clayton, Joe Sherriff, Jo Wilson
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