Hastings has been named New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Small City – acknowledging the passion of the Hastings community’s environmental protection, beautification, and sustainability efforts.
Run by national charity Keep New Zealand Beautiful, the Beautiful Awards are the country’s longest-running sustainability awards and provide a benchmark for environmental excellence.
The 2021 win builds on Hastings’ success in the same awards in 2020 when it took out the Most Beautiful Large Town Award, and the overall Supreme Award.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the award was fitting recognition of the efforts put in by so many in the community to care for the environment and each other.
“It’s wonderful to have our amazing community recognised with another win this year – it shows the huge commitment to caring for and enhancing our beautiful city is ongoing.
“As a council we have been given a very clear direction on sustainability and the protection of our environment, both through submissions to our Long-Term Plan and through our Youth Council.
“Our family-friendly parks, gardens and reserves, much-loved historic buildings, diverse suburbs, vibrant atmosphere and, most importantly, our passionate people and the way we all work together, are at the heart of making our district beautiful.”
The award judges noted that Hastings and the other category winners illustrated an exceptionally strong community spirit and created an environment that other towns and cities would aspire to.
They said key highlights for Hastings since the 2020 award wins included the council’s litter prevention campaign featuring two mascots - Luke the Litter Legend and Colin the Cheeky Chucker, “creating a fun and engaging way for children to learn about litter”.
Luke and Colin are ‘best mates’, but Luke does get cheesed off with Colin for not disposing of his litter correctly.
A 20-minute road show has been developed, visiting primary schools around the district, focusing on Luke teaching Colin how to get litter in the bin, and why he should do so.
The feedback from schools indicated students had embraced the message and shared it with each other, and this activity had been supported by other initiatives such as dressing new solar-powered Big Belly bins in anti-litter campaign artwork, cinema advertising during the school holidays, and sending thank you letters and a poster signed by Colin and Luke to those doing good work.
“Hastings has also established an eco-committee, initiated a New Zealand-first analysis into the trees in their parks and reserves and has a continued focus on sustainable tourism and community beautification,” the judges said.
To find out all the finalists and winners go to www.knzb.org.nz.
18 February 2022
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