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Hamilton wins Most Beautiful Large City award

Clean streets, an improved kerbside collection service, award-winning gardens, vibrant murals and the stunning Waikato River have seen Hamilton named New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Large City.

The Keep New Zealand Beautiful awards were held via a virtual live stream yesterday evening.

The awards recognise and acknowledge towns, cities, community groups and businesses that are working hard to keep New Zealand beautiful.

Hamilton was nominated for the Most Beautiful City award by a resident who chose to stay anonymous.

Judges were treated to a city-wide tour which showcased some of the city’s stunning infrastructure and parks. They also saw a video summarising why Hamilton deserved to take the win.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says she was "thrilled" by the win but predicted people who knew Hamilton well would not be surprised.

"We have a stunning city, I hear that a lot when I am hosting visitors and locals already know that’s the case," she says.

"It’s one of the reasons people choose to live in Hamilton. We have amazing green spaces like the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, destination playgrounds and our Hamilton Gardens – those things are all well known.

"And it’s impossible to not love our beautiful awa, the Waikato River, which anchors our city and which we are finally beginning to celebrate."

She says Hamiltonians were "intensely proud" of their city which is quickly becoming one of New Zealand’s most important urban centres. But making a city beautiful didn’t happen without hard work and foresight.

"This award belongs to all of us and that includes the people from Hamilton City Council as well as the dedicated community groups who work hard to make this a place where people thrive.

"Council staff are on the ground every day sweeping leaves, planting trees, fixing potholes, removing graffiti, sowing flowers and much more. They not only keep our city running, they also keep it beautiful and I for one really appreciate that."

Moving the kerbside collection from bags to bins recently has helped create cleaner looking streets, she says.

"On average, it’s helped divert more than 20 tonnes of food scraps away from landfill each day. When used correctly, the environmental impact of this new service will be phenomenal and that was clearly taken into account by the judges."

Mayor Paula says she was elated Hamilton had been recognised for the work Council and others are doing to keep the city one of New Zealand’s best.

"We can and should all be really, really proud. It’s a huge team effort to keep our city beautiful and with all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, no, I’m not surprised at all that Hamilton took out the win."

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