beautiful towns


PHOTO: KELLY HODEL/STUFF Communtity led beautification projects have put Waihī in the running for Most Beautiful Small Town.

Think of New Zealand’s best looking towns and cities and what springs to mind? Waihī, Pukekohe, Hutt City…? Nope, us neither. Yet all three are finalists in this year’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards, along with Hanmer Springs, Cambridge and Whanganui.

Judges celebrity chef Michael Van De Elzen and Keep New Zealand Beautiful chief executive Heather Saunderson have said the contest will come down to which communities best maintain their good looks through beautification, sustainability and waste management, with bonus points for those with active community and school volunteer groups. The superficial stuff is important too though – it is a beauty contest after all.

Here we take a look at why each place might deserve to take out the title of most beautiful small town, large town or city.