Hamilton and Whanganui tie for NZ’s most beautiful city award

Hamilton and Whanganui have jointly won the crown of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful City in this year’s awards.

The duo were tied for the first prize in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards, with judges instead splitting the category to include the two.

Whanganui was crowned the most beautiful small city and Hamilton the most beautiful large city.

Judge and Keep New Zealand Beautiful chief executive Heather Saunderson said winners prioritised making their environments vibrant and rubbish-free.

“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 said.

“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.”

Hastings was crowned the Most Beautiful Large Town and Supreme Towns & Cities Award on the night, scoring a community mural valued up to $10,000.

“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,” Saunderson said.

Arrowtown was cemented as the Most Beautiful Small Town.

For Whanganui, Thursday’s award was its second time on the podium, after beating out Hutt City for the title of Most Beautiful City last year.

It also boasted two of the three nominees for the Best Street award, with Victoria Ave and Rangiora St in the running. Last year, Whanganui’s Ridgway St won the award.

But it wasn’t to be on the big night, as Cambridge’s Victoria St took the title at the virtual awards ceremony.

“This year Covid-19 has shifted the global landscape, and its long-term effects remain unclear,” Saunderson said.

“Celebrating environmental excellence, small wins and beautiful behaviour, whether personal or professional, is now more important than ever.”

Progress Castlecliff was also in the spotlight, taking out the Community Group Award for its work beautifying Whanganui’s largest coastal suburb.

Ruakuri bush walk in Waitomo was judged as the best place for a hike.

And if you wanted to know where the best loo in New Zealand is, there was a winner for that too, with the Hunua Falls toilets crowned the best throne around.

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