Cambridge concentrated on showing its community spirit to deny Pukekohe a win in the race to be named the country’s most beautiful large town.
A team comprising Miff Macdiarmid, Michael Jeans, Josh Easby and Philip Coles went into the entry process this year determined to win having learned that the previous failures were not in the town’s beauty, but in demonstrating community spirit through volunteer groups and community initiatives.
It paid off – Cambridge winning the coveted Keep New Zealand Beautiful award at the awards night in Dunedin.
“I think it was just a matter of learning exactly what they were after,” said Jeans, who made the previous two entries along with Easby and the support of Destination Cambridge.
Macdiarmid, CEO of Destination Cambridge, explained the strategy.
“It’s a beautiful town of course, but community input was a big part of the application too, so we took the judges on a tour around Cambridge and showed them the community gardens, the tree trust, local businesses, discussed a lot of the volunteering that goes on.
“As we walked the streets with them (judges Michael Van de Elzen and Heather Saunderson), numerous people said hello or smiled, everyone was just really warm, super relaxed and genuine. That’s what we experience every day, but for them – especially coming from Auckland – that experience was very special.”
“They were really taken by that,” said Coles, who joined Macdiarmid in accepting the award at a gala dinner in Dunedin. “True beauty comes from within and it’s really about the community spirit.
“We always knew we were the most beautiful town, but now it’s just official. It gives everyone even more reason to be proud that this is their town.”
Macdiarmid said the win would also reinforces Cambridge as a place to visit, for domestic and overseas visitors.
The team is now planning on entering next year’s awards – defending the “Most Beautiful Large Town” award and entering “Best Street” and awards for community initiatives.