We are so pleased and proud that Hastings has won the Supreme Award in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards 2020, on top of winning the Most Beautiful Large Town category.
We can add those accolades to numerous others. This year alone, the Hawke’s Bay Opera House has won the heritage category of the New Zealand Architecture Awards 2020 and, in the same awards, St James’ Church in Hastings received an Enduring Architecture Award. The Opera House upgrade has also taken out this year’s Resene Total Colour Heritage Commercial Award and the Resene Total Colour – Colour Master Nightingale Colour Maestro Award.
They come on top of Flaxmere Park winning Most Active Park in this year’s Recreation Aotearoa Awards, and all three Hastings premier parks (Havelock North Village Green, Flaxmere Park and Cornwall Park) achieving international Green Flag status.
All of these awards reflect the work that our community and Hastings District Council put in every day to make and keep our incredible district beautiful.
Of course, in the beautiful stakes we have a head start given our amazing natural features and outstanding climate, but the awards are about much more than that.
In particular the Keep New Zealand Beautiful focus on sustainability, environmental care, and community input.
The judges, based on submissions from cities and towns across New Zealand, visited each area before coming to a decision on the winners of the awards.
The judges visited our district to consider our environmental sustainable practices to reduce rubbish to landfill and recycling practices, view our beautiful parks, reserves and protection of our heritage buildings.
They were very impressed with our up-to-the-minute recycling collection services which make sure we get clean, sorted recycling that can actually be made into new products. Even our rubbish trucks are 90 per cent recyclable at end of life (the only ones in New Zealand).
We showed them the work our more than 100 community volunteers do, planting trees and shrubs in our parks and reserves across the district. It is estimated that those volunteers have put in more than 4,000 hours over the last 12 months. By the end of this planting season, 12,000 plants will have been planted in 28 reserves, adding to the 20,000 planted in the 2019 season.
Without their help, there is no way Council could have made such a dramatic impact in our green spaces.
Our love for our heritage buildings is evident in the exceptional refurbishment of our Opera House following its earthquake strengthening, and the on-going strengthening and upgrading of the neighbouring historic Municipal Buildings.
The judges toured Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre — including Functions on Hastings, the Cushing Foyer and the Opera House. They were truly wowed at the preservation of the history and culture, the integration of all of the spaces, and the sustainability practices we’ve put in place – the removal of plastic, the use of environmentally-safe cleaning products; using LED lights wherever we can – even the staff uniforms are made from sustainable materials.
Our focus on heritage preservation does not stop there. For over 20 years, Council has supported commercial building owners and tenants occupying heritage buildings by providing advice and part-funding for the painting of facades in heritage colours, contributing to the enhancement of over 150 buildings since that time. Fine examples include the Domain Building and IMS buildings in Queen Street.
Our community is heavily involved in the planning of spaces that contribute to making our district beautiful.
Input from neighbours, care groups, stakeholders and users helped our team make significant and important changes. For example, Havelock North Village Green: without that input and fundraising it is unlikely that the historic cricket pavilion would be in the high-profile position it is today. Cornwall Park: input from residents changed the placement of the playground from the original concept plans. And Flaxmere Park: as well as the community helping design the placement of features to enhance the park, local school children helped choose the plants and plant them and provided artwork for the flags and the barbecue surrounds.
Hastings Alive! — with its 23 projects that will see our city centre blossom — has also had very strong community input. They have helped us design outdoor eating areas and new green spaces within the city, complete with the fruit trees in the footpath planters, where we can enjoy our wonderful sunny summer days and the exceptional food and beverages produced across our region.
We also have amazing events, delivered by many organisations that give us so much to experience, from pop-up interactive art installations in the city, to the Farmers ‘ Market, Blossom Parade and Horse of the Year, the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, Fringe Festival, a national marathon, and concerts.
We could not have achieved all this without our passionate, caring hardworking people who are proud of our Hastings District and help us keep it that way.
At Hastings District Council, we are very proud and determined, with the support of our community, to keep Hastings beautiful today and provide a sustainable future for our children.