Taupō District Mayor, David Trewavas says he was “absolutely delighted” after Taupō town received the Supreme Towns & Cities Award at the Beautiful Awards in Wellington last week.
The awards are organised by the not-for-profit environmental charity, Keep New Zealand Beautiful, and were held at Parliament House in Wellington.
Mayor Trewavas says there was initial disappointment for the Taupō team when Whakatāne scooped up the Most Beautiful Large Town gong. Tūrangi, which was a finalist in the Most Beautiful Small Town category, was also announced as runner-up to Arrowtown.
However, disappointment soon turned to jubilance, with Taupō was named the Supreme Award winner.
“I’m absolutely stoked – this is amazing news for the community,” he said.
“The judges commended Taupō for its many environmental initiatives and it is so great to see that all the effort that the council and the community put into reducing waste and cleaning up litter has really paid off.”
Councillor, Sandra Greenslade – who represented the Taupō District at the awards, along with Te Takinga New of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Tūrangitukua – said those in the Taupō group could hardly believe their ears when the award was announced.
“We heard them say ‘T’ and we all thought they were going to say Tauranga. So when they said Taupō instead, we all sort of looked at each other,” she says.
“It was lovely though – there was a lot of really lovely applause and shouts and cheers across the room. We were surprised and then we were over the moon!”
Mayor Trewavas acknowledged the efforts of Tidy Taupō, Greening Taupō, and Council’s waste minimisation team who he says actively look for opportunities to reduce waste, provide recycling opportunities and recover as much waste as possible.
“I’d like to give a further shout to our council staff – the parks team’s reserve rangers who keep our parks and reserves looking good, the environmental rangers who clean the toilets and the town centre and pick up litter and the staff who helped bring the amazing vision of our new lakefront Te Ātea to life – all of you deserve this award,” he said.
“Then there’s Towncentre Taupō with its Graffiato murals, our new airport terminal, our beautiful new town centre – there’s almost too many things to list!”
Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO, Heather Saunderson visited all of the town and city finalists in the awards and said while all the submissions were of a very high standard and it was a hard award to judge, Taupō was the clear winner.
“Out of all the towns and cities I visited, Taupō ranked amongst the highest for the many climate conscious initiatives it undertakes, excelling across every other criteria, making it the clear winner of the Supreme Award,” said Ms Saunderson.
She said initiatives of particular note were:
- Taupō’s Kai Rescue Programme which works to reduce food waste by redistributing food from local cafes and supermarkets into pockets of the community in need;
- Taupō’s regular community clean up events which aim to tackle litter and bring the community together;
- The implementation of their Downstream Defenders which aims to reduce waste into beautiful Lake Taupō by removing small rubbish items such as small plastics, cigarette butts and rubber from stormwater;
- Addressing waste end to end by encouraging the community to Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle;
- The Taupō District Council’s sustainable transport schemes which include e-bikes and hybrid cars. Taupō is soon to receive its first new electric bus, too.
As part of the Resene awards sponsorship, Taupō will receive a mural painted in the town by a local artist up to the value of $10,000.
In addition to the Supreme Award, Taupō’s new Te Ātea space on the lakefront at Roberts Street – with its striking carved pou centrepiece and circular atea (pictured) representing Lake Taupō and all the rivers that flow into it – won the Kiwis’ Choice Award in the Places Awards category.
The artworks in Te Ātea were created by Ngāti Tūwharetoa artists Delani Brown and Kingi Pitiroi. Te Ātea was part of the Taupō District Council’s three-year $25 million Taupō Town Centre Transformation project, which attracted $20.6 million of central government funding via its shovel-ready projects fund.