Beautiful Awards 2023: Ten NZ towns and cities revealed as finalists

Beautiful Awards 2023: Ten NZ towns and cities revealed as finalists by Keep New Zealand Beautiful.
Tauranga and Christchurch are facing off. Photo credit: Getty Images

The urban centre finalists have been announced for the Beautiful Awards 2023, which celebrate Aotearoa towns and cities for their sustainability efforts, ahead of the winners being announced in November. 

Not-for-profit organisation Keep New Zealand Beautiful has hosted the annual awards since 1972 with the aim of honouring environmental excellence and sustainability achievements across the country. 

The Most Beautiful Towns and Cities category recognises and rewards councils that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental improvement over the past 12 months, the organisation said. 

This year Christchurch and Tauranga are the frontrunners for Most Beautiful Large City, with Whanganui, Taupō, Leigh, New Plymouth and Arrowtown also receiving nominations. 

"The Awards are a chance for Kiwis to put their community on the map and to celebrate a stand-out sustainability initiative in their town or city," said Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson. 

"Through the Beautiful Awards we're able to celebrate the efforts of local government as well as those made by community groups, schools and individuals who are all striving to maintain and improve New Zealand's environment. 

"This collective contribution is key to maintaining the biodiversity of Aotearoa and to creating a waste and climate conscious future for the next generations of Tidy Kiwis."  

New Zealanders were asked to nominate towns and cities that stood out for their sustainability efforts and provide an explanation with a specific focus on litter prevention, waste minimisation, community beautification and recycling initiatives. 

Beautiful Awards judges then whittled down the entries, they said, "based on the number of nominations as a percentage of population, the strength of their litter prevention/waste minimisation initiatives, community beautification projects and recycling projects".  

Each of those four categories held an equal 25 percent weighting, ultimately resulting in the following finalists: 

Most Beautiful Large City: 

  • Christchurch 
  • Tauranga City 

Most Beautiful Small City: 

  • New Plymouth 
  • Whanganui 

Most Beautiful Large Town: 

  • Taupō 
  • Whakatāne 

Most Beautiful Small Town: 

  • Arrowtown 
  • Tūrangi 

Most Beautiful Tiny Town: 

  • Awanui 
  • Leigh. 

The winners will be announced at Parliament House on Thursday, November 9. 

A Supreme award will be given to the overall winner of the Most Beautiful Towns & Cities category, which is sponsored by Resene, which includes a mural painted in their town or city by a local artist valued at up to $10,000.