Small New Zealand town takes out top award

Small New Zealand town takes out top award
Photo credit: Supplied

The Waikato coastal town of Raglan has recieved the highest accolade in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards.

The annual awards celebrate sustainability, environmental excellence and community beautification.

Dunedin was crowned the Most Beautiful City, against strong competitor Hutt City, while Taupo and Raglan took out the Most Beautiful Large and Small Town awards, respectively. 

In addition to winning the Most Beautiful Small Town Award, Raglan also took out the Supreme Award, in what the judges described as 'an unprecedented commitment and effort regarding their community beautification programme.' 

The Raglan bridge.
The Raglan bridge. Photo credit: Newshub

Raglan will receive a customised community mural, designed and painted by Flox in their town. 

Most Beautiful Town and City finalists were decided after a visit from celebrity judges, renowned New Zealand stencil artist Flox (Hayley King), NZ House & Garden Editor Sally Duggan, along with a representative from KNZB.

Heather Saunderson, CEO of Keep New Zealand Beautiful said the standard of entries was very high. 

"From the efforts of councils in the Most Beautiful Towns and Cities Awards, to the contributions made by everyday kiwis in our Community Group and Individual Award, every entrant in the Beautiful Awards deserves to be celebrated." she said.

Full List of Winners

Beautiful Towns and Cities

Most Beautiful Small Town

Finalists: Waihi, Raglan

Winner: Raglan

Raglan is a beautiful seaside community, renowned for its world-class surf break and a high-visitor destination in the Waikato region. Raglan’s entry showcases the fierce pride that locals have in their environmentally and sustainability focused town. Community led initiatives ensure that their ethos is front of mind with council and contractors.

Most Beautiful Large Town

Finalists: Taupo, Timaru

Winner: Taupo

The Taupo District Council worked hard to walk-the-talk and set an example in waste minimisation. Most of their rubbish bins have been removed from their offices, to encourage more conscientious decisions when disposing of waste, they’ve implemented compost bins at each office and, they no longer offer disposable plastic cups at the water coolers. They are leading by example and their award submission is full of outstanding examples of how this behaviour is being extended out and encouraged in the community.

Most Beautiful City 

Finalists: Hutt City, Dunedin

Winner: Dunedin

The Dunedin City Council are supported by a very engaged and active local branch, Keep Dunedin Beautiful. Together, their submission exhibits a strong sense of community pride; they have implemented exceptional recycling initiatives to further engage the community, which have shown outstanding results. Their community beautification has an element of heritage conservation, which fits naturally with the essence of the city.

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:  Plastic Bag Free Raglan, Coast Care Bay of Plenty, Timona Park Orchard Trust.

Winner: Plastic Bag Free Raglan

Plastic Bag Free Raglan have been actively addressing the global issue of plastic pollution by taking initiative in their local area. They have been able to get an overwhelming 93% of community members on board in supporting a Plastic Bag Free community. This has involved getting 1,500 reusable bags out to the locals, implementing plastic bag free education modules in local schools and creating a Plastic Bag Free business accreditation programme which has seen 95% of local businesses Plastic Bag Free!

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 additionally shows a strong sense of community spirit. 

Finalists:  Plastic-Bag-Free Coromandel Town, Eketahuna Chorus Building Project, Keep Waihi Beautiful

Winner: Plastic Bag Free Coromandel Town

Plastic Bag Free Coromandel Town was formed late 2017 to inspire and encourage local residents, business owners and visitors to improve the environment by decreasing plastic waste. The Plastic Bag Free Coromandel Town group consists of a dedicated team of volunteers that have aimed to educate people around the damage single-use plastics have on our environment and to demonstrate alternative ways to use them.

New Zealand Couriers Sustainable School Award

The Sustainable Schools Award, proudly sponsored by New Zealand Couriers, annually honours a teacher, school or tertiary institution for commitment and practical action to implement sustainable practices and environmental projects, which enhance the school and/or community. The recipient is awarded $500 to fund environmental educational activities within the school.

Finalists:  Discovery School, Porirua; Dawson Primary School, Auckland; Portland Kindergarten, Whangarei.

Winner: Discovery School, Porirua

Discovery School are proud hosts to numerous native trees sourced by Paper4Trees and fundraising. The native trees and grasses have been planted in an effort to maintain forest play, learning areas and to entice wildlife for students to observe. Students throughout the school benefit from the garden areas; enjoying shared reading groups in the orchard, exploration in the bug hotels and lizard gardens, to learning maths and economics from the sale of their 'worm-wiggle juice’ for gardens.

Resene 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:  Queen Street, Richmond; Upper Trafalgar Street, Nelson; Main Street, Gore.

Winner: Queen Street, Richmond.

Over the past 18 months, Queen Street has undergone dramatic transformations featuring interactive public art, plantings, history information panels and bike facilities. It’s turned into an amazing space for events, social activity, outdoor dining and community cohesion. General public feedback was welcomed through pop-up sessions at the Richmond Mall and Richmond Library which helped inform the improved street design, now highlighted with landscape plantings that complement the clean contemporary lines of the streetscape and pedestrian friendly design.

Resene Kiwi’s Choice 

This award, proudly sponsored by Resene, recognises a favourite public spot in New Zealand based on its location, facilities, natural beauty, man-made beauty, cleanliness, popularity, and uniqueness.

Finalists:  Castlepoint, Wairarapa; Margaret Mahy Playground, Christchurch; Taumarunui Northern Entrance.

Winner: Margaret Mahy Playground, Christchurch.

Named after one of New Zealand’s most beloved children’s authors and a Lyttelton Harbour local, the Margaret Mahy Playground opened as a Christchurch Rebuild Anchor Project and now stands as the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere! Amongst all the demolition, road works and building sites, it is a place of colour, noise and laughter. Equipped with disability friendly equipment and a special sand pit area the playground has become an iconic destination spot in Christchurch, loved and used by all age groups.

Plumbing World Best Loo 

This award, proudly sponsored by Plumbing World, recognises the best public loo in the country based on the location, the facilities, cleanliness, interior, exterior and the surrounding environment of the loo.

Finalists:  Benneydale Public Toilets, Te Mata Peak Park, Hot Water Beach Toilets.

Winner:  Hot Water Beach Toilets

This iconic public toilet facility officially opened just a year ago, visually blending in beautifully with the surrounding coastal environment. They are located on the forefront of the world famous Hot Water Beach which see visitors including overseas tourists, New Zealand visitors and locals. The facility has been purpose built to accommodate high tourism numbers, large amounts of sand and a harsh beachside environment. Low maintenance and easy to clean, this facility ensures an exceptional visitor experience for overseas visitors and locals alike.

Sustainable Business Awards

The Environmental Business awards recognize and acknowledge businesses that strive to put sustainability at the core of their business practices.   

Most Sustainable Small Business – less than 20 staff

Finalists:  The Rubbish Whisperer; The Falls Retreat; Pouch Products.

Winner: The Rubbish Whisperer

The Rubbish Whisperer offers environmentally friendly solutions to single use plastics with the aim of reducing waste and pollution. They have been committed to improving our environment by encouraging discussion around waste via blogs, social media, appearances and media coverage. The Rubbish Whisperer has developed 12 product lines so that consumers are able to move towards biodegradable and reusable waste products – 8 of which are manufactured right here in New Zealand.

Most Sustainable Large Business- more than 20 staff

Finalists:  ecostore; Waste Management; Road Metals

Winner:  Waste Management

With a long term commitment to waste optimisation, energy efficiency, and research and innovation, Waste Management have already made a significant difference by producing electricity from landfill generation and alternative fuels by hazardous waste. In March this year Waste Management opened its Electric Vehicle Innovation Hub being New Zealand’s very first conversion workshop. They are now operating 6 electric trucks saving 125 litres of diesel per day for each truck and replaced 26 light vehicles saving nearly 50,000 litres of petrol.

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:  UYOC, Vendella Ltd, Ceres Organics

Winner: UYOC

UYOC work with bloggers and cafes to encourage customers and cafes to work together to reduce unnecessary single-use waste. UYOC’s main focus is in creating positive change, minimising waste, raising funds for charities and NGO’s, connecting customers and businesses within the common goal of responsibility and stewardship. UYOC is also about rethinking of the relationship with our national capital, the way many of us are living, the damage we can cause and addressing these things in a way that focuses on the positive and empowers us all to be the change.

Individual Awards

Young Legend Award 

The Young Legend Award honours an outstanding volunteer under the age of 18.

Finalists: Amy Magyar; Rosetta Brown; E Wen Wong.

Winner:  Amy Magyar

Amy is currently chair of her college Leo club. During her time as chair, she has worked on several beautification projects planting native trees and flaxes. Amy is also a very active member of Keep Waihi Beautiful’s Student Committee. She recently helped out with a student led programme giving talks at local primary schools on waste minimisation - encouraging hundreds of our young tamariki in Waihi to think hard about their rubbish and where it ends up. The campaign encouraged children to ‘do the right thing’ with their rubbish and focused on the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Tidy Kiwi Award

The Tidy Kiwi Award honours exceptional leadership in litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and beautification activities.

Finalists:  Anita Goodman; Bryan Fairbairn; Charlotte Fisher.

Winner: Anita Goodman

Anita Goodman has well and truly earned her title as Hamilton City Council’s Waste Ambassador! Anita has been growing her own fruit and veg, swapping excess with the neighbours and composting any food waste to go back to her garden. Combined with her other efforts to remain frugal, this has resulted in only putting out one rubbish bag and two recycling bins every six months! She has extended her Tidy Kiwi efforts beyond her own backyard and furthermore cleaned up 1,871 cans from Hamilton gutters within 105 bicycle commutes and successfully managed to have the Countdown HQ send out nationwide communications around their litter issue – well done Anita!

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. 

Winner: Wayne Davis

Wayne is a charismatic and self-professed people person. His professional background is varied and well rounded, having worked in the motoring industry and serving in Local Government for 9 years as a Waitakere City Councilman. Wayne is a family man and active member of the community, a former trustee of Keep Waitakere Beautiful, former Foundation Member for the Waitakere Asian Support Group and the current Chairman of Keep West Auckland Beautiful.