Festival among the 'highlights'

17:00, Jun 15 2014

New Plymouth's Festival of Lights is getting glowing reviews in a national set of awards.

The festival has made the top three finalists for the Community Event of the Year in the Local Government (LGNZ) New Zealand Excellence Awards.

It is up against the Auckland Nines, run by the Auckland Council and Napier City Council's Art Deco Weekend.

Mayor Andrew Judd said making the final was a testament to the hard work and long hours that had been put into the festival for the last 60 years.

"It's also an event that involves the whole family," he said.

"It's iconic around the country and we are very excited to be in the finals for these awards."

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The festival is one of 15 finalists across the four categories of the awards, which are being held for the first time this year.

They recognise and celebrate the leadership role of local government.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said the festival was a visual illustration of the council's pledge to create an attractive living environment for its residents, and to attract people to the region.

"The TSB Festival of Lights has clearly become a integral part of New Plymouth's events calendar. Our judges believed the council is right to be proud of its leadership and support of [a] much-loved festival," Yule said.

The festival has been recognised nationally before when Creative New Zealand named it the winner of the Cultural Festivals and Arts Events Award in the district council category in 2005.

The winners of the LGNZ awards will be announced at the LGNZ annual meeting in Nelson on July 21.

Judd said he would be attending the conference along with chief executive Barbara McKerrow, deputy mayor Heather Dodunski and councillors Craig McFarlane and Gordon Brown.

Taranaki Daily News