Garden's entrance to remain

Margo Reid
Margo Reid
The plan is for Dunedin's Chinese Garden to remain a separate activity from Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, even though the museum will take over managing the garden.

Outgoing garden manager Margo Reid said whether there would be a physical connection between the two Dunedin City Council-owned attractions would be something museum management would have to decide later, but the separate physical entrance to the garden from the street would have to remain, either way.

''There is special significance about that entrance.

''It would be very disrespectful for that not to be used.

''It is an activity in its own right,'' she said.

In an effort to reduce the cost of the garden to ratepayers, museum management has started assuming responsibility for day-to-day running of the garden, and will take over completely from July 1, when Ms Reid's role will be disestablished.

Plans could include a new cafe-function room at the garden, and bringing merchandise sales to the entrance. There had been no discussion on changing entrance charges for the garden, Ms Reid said yesterday.

What the museum intended to do with an empty space at the garden end of the museum, or whether it intended to take garden entrance fees at the museum's front desk had not be discussed and guesses at this stage would be ''crystal ball gazing''.

Signs around the museum about the garden were simply the two attractions working together to ''acknowledge each other's presence'', rather than any indication of how the two would work together in the future, she said.

The marketing for the two attractions would be organised centrally by the council and follow the general practice at this stage for all the city's cultural activities to be marketed as a group.


Goin' down to Woodstock

@lefty dave. Make it free. At Woodstock, 1969, they announced " It's a Free Concert from now on, and that's the beautiful thing about it".

Gardens of China

I clearly remember Mr Chin saying that the Chinese garden was a gift to the people of Dunedin from the local Chinese community, and that once it was built millions of Chinese mainland tourists would come just to visit the garden. Both claims have have so far failed to live up to expectations.

Why do they want it to be popular?

"If a goal is to make this garden popular then drop the entrance charge!" says leftydave, missing the point. The reason for wanting more visitors to the Chinese Garden is the fee they pay to get in. If it does not earn money the ratepayers have to prop it up more and more. So dropping the entrance charge might increase the number of people wandering around in it, but would increase the cost to us the ratepayers, not only because we would be paying the whole cost of maintaining the feature but also because more people tends to mean more mess, more wear and tear adding to the cost.

There was no public demand for this garden, it was foisted upon us with a fair amount of ballyhoo about sister city relationships and even more absurdly, honouring the Chinese gold prospectors, men for whom this garden would have been as far from their culture as it is from the other miners, but for many people Chinese is Chinese, all the same people, ignoring the vast differences within that huge country. Those hard-working frugal miners would have been as bewildered as many present-day Dunedin residents at what brain-pfft dumped this on to our rates outgoings.

Free = no

When these ventures are supposed to make $$ to pay back the debt why would you make them free?

Both the Chinese gardens and especially the museum have to have a charge to keep them running.

Reality is so what if 100,000 go to see them for free because if the museum and Chinese gardens can't pay their bills they will just add to the drain on the ratepayer and as we all know we are already in deep debt to the extent we are forced to borrow just to pay to put in light bulbs.

We are in a world whether we like it or not of "user pays" - it would be nice to have everything for free but it's simply not economically sustainable at this point in time.

Make it free to get in

To the people that claim to be in a leadership position regarding the gardens . . . .. if a goal is to make this garden popular then drop the entrance charge!

When that was done regarding the Settlers Museum then that place got the traffic it deserved!

If you don't drop the charges then you are really killing the place

Ii live in hope!

Wrong move

Nothing to do with her, now she is a lame duck.

I've never been to the Chinese Garden, but I went to Toitu within a matter of days of its opening. If access had been available to the garden via the museum I would have considered looking at it.

Seriously, it's almost as if they don't want patrons!

Sell tickets at the desk

There is no reason this cannot be done now! Garden tickets should also be sold at the main information Centre. If people have bought a ticket they will go.

The pricing structure  needs to looked at. It is very expensive for a family to visit the Chinese Gardens. An unsold ticket is revenue lost, although too many people at a time spoils the garden. Why not offer "specials" at the Settlers when garden visitor numbers are low.

I have not seen a donations box at the Settlers museum. All revenue is good revenue with a council with this much debt.


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