Keep New Zealand Beautiful has announced the finalists of their Beautiful Awards 2021, and Hastings is one of the contenders.
The 'Beautiful Awards' are New Zealand's longest-running sustainability awards and provide a benchmark for environmental excellence.
It's a battle of east versus west for the North Island cities of Whanganui and Hastings, both finalists for this year's award of Most Beautiful Small City.
Whanganui was last year's winner of Most Beautiful Small City and Hastings won Most Beautiful Large Town as well as the Supreme Award.
A change in the judging criteria this year puts them up against each other.
This is the third year in a row Whanganui has been selected as a finalist for their ongoing initiatives in community beautification.
Hastings was selected as a finalist for its waste and litter prevention campaign which introduced two mascots - Luke the Litter Legend and Colin the Cheeky Chucker, creating a fun and engaging way for children to learn about litter.
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Hastings also established an eco-committee, initiated a New Zealand first analysis into the trees in their parks and reserves and has had a continued focus on sustainable tourism and community beautification.
Run annually since 1972, the awards inspire, recognise and acknowledge those individuals, schools, community groups, towns and cities working passionately to Keep New Zealand Beautiful.
This year, the Most Beautiful Towns & Cities awards have been aligned with the urban area classifications used by Statistics New Zealand for statistical purposes: Most Beautiful Small Town (small urban area with 1,000 - 9,999 residents), Most Beautiful Large Town (medium urban area with 10,000 - 29,999 residents), Most Beautiful Small City (large urban area 30,000 – 99,999 residents) and Most Beautiful Large City (major urban area with 100,000 or more residents).