Turns out twice is the charm for Waihī taking out the most beautiful small town award after two years in the running.

Waihī took the win because of their strides towards sustainability, waste management and beautification.

The win was one of 14 categories in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) annual awards which were held at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum last night.

The competition recognised the environmental excellence of individuals, groups, businesses and schools. KNZB is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to keeping communities clean, safe and beautiful with campaigns like 'Be A Tidy Kiwi' and 'Do the Right Thing'.

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In the past year, they have more than doubled the number of volunteers who attend community clean-ups.

In March, the local council-funded 600 menstrual cups to combat period poverty.

It also started the Town Portraits Project, which aimed to bring inspirational people from Waihī's past to life through a series of portraits scattered around the town on blank walls.

KNZB's cheif executive Heather Saunderson said the selected finalists demonstrated leadership and innovation to build resilient towns and cities.

"These towns and cities are truly leading the way in tackling a variety of environmental issues, and we believe that their call to action will inspire others to create change."

Winners and finalist

Beautiful Towns and Cities

Most Beautiful Small Town

Winner: Waihī

Hanmer Springs

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Most Beautiful Large Town
Winner: Cambridge
Pukekohe

Most Beautiful City
Winner: Lower Hutt City
Whanganui

Outstanding Service Award
Winner: Lower Hutt City

Community Awards

Klean Kanteen Community Environmental Initiative Award
Winner: RefillNZ
Sea Walls Tairawhiti
Palmy's Plastic Pollution Challenge

Community Group Award
Winner: For Our Real Clean Environment (FORCE)
World Mission Society Church of God
Friends of the Waiwhetu

Sustainable Schools Award, proudly sponsored by New Zealand Couriers
Winner: : Francis Douglas Memorial College (New Plymouth)
Rangiruru Girls School (Christchurch)
Salisbury School (Richmond)

Businesses

Most Sustainable Business

Winner: The Rubbish Whisperer

CaliWoods

Eastern Drycleaners

Most Sustainable Business Project
Winner: Vendella
Remix Plastic project by Clever Green Limited

Individual Awards

Tidy Kiwi Award

Winner: Alan Pope

Nick Connop & Karen Lee

Kenny McCracken

Young Legend Award
Winner: Sarah Nicholls
E Wen Wong
Rosetta Brown

Local Hero Award
Winner: Laura Cope

Best Places

Best Loo Award, sponsored by Plumbing World

Winner: Colac Bay Toilet

Port Ōhope Wharf Permaloo

Spa Park

Best Street Award, sponsored by Resene
Winner: Ridgway Street, Whanganui
Greytown Main Street, Wairarapa
Seymour Avenue, Nelson

Kiwi's Choice Award, sponsored by Resene
Winner: Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park
Otumuheke Hot Stream

Blue Flag Supreme Best Practice Award
Winner: Outboard Boating Club Auckland
Westhaven Marina
The Landing
Orakei Marina