The jury has reached a verdict and the winners of this year's Whangarei: Love it Here! photo competition have been announced.
David van der Haas, Virginia Guy and Eden Hales were voted frontrunners for the categories Promote Whangarei, Love it Here and Junior Whangarei photographer respectively.
"The judges were incredibly impressed by the high standard of photography and it was a very tough task to narrowing down the 250 entries to six finalists per division," said a spokesman from the agency Big Fish Creative who has been working with Whangarei District Council for this competition. "We had a great range of photos this year - people skydiving, boating, swimming and wakeboarding, as well as plenty of animals dogs and cats as well as tigers and lions and scenic shots.
"It's hard to go past our beautiful beaches and forests and these backdrops provided the most common theme, although every photo was fantastically individual," the spokesman said.
"The photo competition was the second in a series of 'Love it Here' grass-roots initiatives developed to actively engage the community to show pride in the district.
"Love it Here is now becoming a recognised message locally and has received positive feedback from throughout the community."
Last year the competition received 200 entries, with the finalists attracting more than 500 votes.
This year however there were 250 entries, and 1300 votes.
"A great level of community participation," the spokesman said.
"By building on positive experiences and perceptions within local communities, we encourage people to talk positively about Whangarei and show their pride when calling Whangarei home."
The categories this year were Promote Whangarei, which was a section for photos that can be used in promotional material for the district; Whangarei: Love it Here!, for photos that show why people love it here; and Whangarei Junior Photographer a section for photos taken by anyone 12 or under.
The winners were awarded their prizes at a special ceremony yesterday
David van der Haas won a a GoPro Hero 3 and $250 cash, Virginia Guy won a Perfect Day cruise and Eden Hales won a family trip to feed the lions at the Kingdom of Zion.