Raglan came up trumps at this year’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards, winning the Most Beautiful Small Town Award and overall Supreme Award.
In a double-whammy for Raglan, Plastic Bag Free Whaingaroa also walked away with an award, taking out the Klean Kanteen Community Environmental Initiative Award.
The Gala Dinner was held on 26 October at the Maritime Museum in Auckland. Raglan Ward Councillor Lisa Thomson was present to accept the Most Beautiful Small Town Award on behalf of the community.
In addition to winning the Most Beautiful Small Town Award, Raglan took out the Supreme Award, in what the judges described as an unprecedented commitment and effort regarding their community beautification programme. Raglan will receive a customised community mural, designed and painted by artist Flox (Hayley King).
The Most Beautiful Small Town Award recognises and celebrates beautiful small towns in New Zealand. It acknowledges positive actions that have been taken by communities to protect and enhance their local environment. It was a tough East vs. West competition, with two Waikato towns, Raglan and Waihi in contention for the title.
Waihi’s entry highlighted their community heritage and town rejuvenation projects, and Raglan focused on sustainability with a key focus on refuse, reuse, reduce, and recycle.
Plastic Bag Free Whaingaroa has been actively addressing the global issue of plastic pollution by taking initiatives in their local area. They have been able to get an overwhelming 93% of community members on board in supporting a Plastic Bag Free community.
This has involved getting 1,500 reusable bags out to the locals, implementing plastic bag free education modules in local schools and creating a Plastic Bag Free business accreditation programme which has seen 95% of local businesses Plastic Bag Free.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful Towns and Cities Awards were judged on initiatives across four key areas:
1. Litter prevention/waste minimisation
2. Community beautification projects
3. Recycling projects
4. Sustainable tourism