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Dunedin has been announced as a finalist for Most Beautiful City in this year's Beautiful Awards, run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful.
The city has been selected as a finalist for its outstanding environmental and sustainability initiatives.
Hutt City is the other finalist.
A summary of the reasoning for selection of Dunedin as a finalist said Dunedin was encouraging recycling across the city and had implemented a recycling inspection programme to focus on behaviour change around the city by providing feedback via attaching tags to residential rubbish bins on how to best separate litter.
The programme had seen an improvement in recycling quality by 27% so far.
The Dunedin City Council was supported by an active and engaged community group Keep Dunedin Beautiful to help run clean-up events throughout the year where volunteers helped to remove and dispose of rubbish from public spaces, it said.
Taskforce Green, a branch off of the Dunedin City Council, had a graffiti removal programme where three volunteers removed an average of 300 graffiti tags each week. Most offensive and obscene tags were removed within eight hours of being reported.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful chief executive Heather Saunderson, said the collaboration between the Dunedin City Council and Keep Dunedin Beautiful helped the city in to the finals.
"Dunedin City Council and Keep Dunedin Beautiful support each other to implement a range of exceptional recycling initiatives which have demonstrated outstanding results.''
The Beautiful Awards, run by Keep New Zeland Beautiful, aim to celebrate environmental excellence exemplified by communities, businesses, schools and individuals in New Zealand.
There are six finalists across three location-based awards in the towns and cities category: Most Beautiful Small Town, Most Beautiful Large Town and Most Beautiful City.
Timaru and Taupo are the finalists in the Most Beautiful Large Town award and Raglan and Waihi are finalists for the Most Beautiful Small Town.
The only other southern finalist in the overall awards is Gore's Main St, which is a finalist along with Queen St, Richmond and Upper Trafalgar St, Nelson, in the Best Street award in the places category.
Each finalist in the towns and cities category must demonstrate sustainable and environmentally conscious behaviours across four key areas: Litter Prevention & Waste Minimisation, Community Beautification, Recycling Projects and Sustainable Tourism, Ms Saunderson said.
"All finalists have strong environmental initiatives across each of our four key areas. We are so pleased to see the incredible work each region is doing to build and sustain vibrant communities. This will be a difficult competition to judge.''
The last phase of judging will involve the Beautiful Awards judging panel visiting the finalist towns and cities from late August.
The winners will be announced at the Beautiful Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on October 26.