New Zealand towns and cities can now throw their hat in the ring for the title of 2018's Most Beautiful Town and Most Beautiful City.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Beautiful Awards with a new, more simplified entry process.

Towns and cities will be able to submit a more simplified entry form, with chosen finalists then being able to showcase their town or city to a new judging panel for the last stage of judging.

This year's judges include:


■Flox, one of New Zealand's leading street artists
■Sally Duggan, Editor of NZ House & Garden
■Heather Saunderson, Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO.

The Most Beautiful Town or City that receives the highest score for community beautification and art will also win a Flox mural, which will be designed and painted in their community.

Flox is hoping to see strong competition from the Waikato in this year's Beautiful Awards.

"Hamilton in particular has worked so hard in the last couple of years to beautify their city, through initiatives such as the Boon Street Art Festival.

It would be great to see the city put an entry forward and see that work recognised. I'm also looking forward to seeing Putaruru enter, they've always been committed to keeping their town beautiful," says Flox.

The awards recognise the positive actions taken by Kiwi communities to enhance the environment and take into account initiatives such as waste minimisation, community beautification, recycling and sustainable tourism attractions.

This year's other guest judge, Sally Duggan, was selected for her first-hand experience of some of New Zealand's most beautiful places through her role as editor of NZ House & Garden magazine.

"When we ask the people whose lovely homes appear in NZ House & Garden about what they love most about their place, they almost always mention their connection to their local environment and community. I'm loving this chance celebrate our best towns and cities," says Duggan.

New Zealand towns and cities have until July 13 to submit their entries for this year's Beautiful Awards.

The winners will be announced at the Beautiful Awards Gala Dinner, to be held at Auckland Maritime Museum on October 26.