Masterton, the most beautiful city in NZ
Masterton – the town whose shortlisting for the national Beautiful Awards bemused even some of its own residents – has taken the big prize against spirited competition from Napier and Tauranga.
The judges of the Beautiful Awards, run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful, praised the Wairarapa town for its focus on community projects.
‘‘Masterton blew away the judges with their wide range of environmental and heritage conservation projects, and the strength of their community engagement with numerous community groups working hard to make Masterton a safer and more beautiful community,’’ the judges said.
Feilding was named most beautiful large town and, in a double success for Wairarapa, Greytown took out the small town category.
The Beautiful Awards seek to reward positive actions taken by communities, rather than being a judgment on their architecture or natural landscape.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful chief executive Heather Saunderson said the awards were held to recognise all levels of community involvement.
‘‘The Beautiful Awards celebrate all contributions great and small, from the most beautiful city, to the volunteer who singlehandedly collected over 700kg of rubbish this year.
‘‘These awards recognise the places, businesses and people who do the right thing day in and day out to Keep New Zealand Beauti- ful.’’
When news broke that Masterton had reached the final alongside Napier and Tauranga, residents of the town – few call it a city – gave it a mixed reaction.
‘‘What do I think? I think you have to be bloody joking,’’ Sue Haworth posted on the Wairarapa News Facebook page.
‘‘Have all the other cities in NZ been blown up and Masterton is the only one left?’’ Julia Peters asked.
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said on receiving the award on Friday night: ‘‘There’s natural beauty all around Masterton, and some outstanding parks and reserves. But the most beautiful thing is our wonderful community. This award is for our people, and I’m proud to collect it on their behalf.’’
Henley Lake, which impressed the Beautiful Awards judges, seen during the balloon festival. Both Masterton and Greytown took out top prizes.