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The Dunedin Chinese Garden has been designated a garden of national significance.
The New Zealand Gardens Trust, which is a branch of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, yesterday awarded the classification, which is reserved for "outstanding gardens, which have a distinct identity and character of their own".
Garden manager Margo Reid said the honour was "great news".
"The garden is very excited to be recognised in this way," Mrs Reid said yesterday.
"We think it confirms the garden's unique place in the southern hemisphere.
"The garden was built as a gift not only to the city, but to the country," she said.
The trust said the designation reflected its confidence in the Chinese Garden's presentation, design and plant interest throughout the year.
"They came and did an assessment last year.
You apply for them to come and assess your garden.
They don't always give you a significance rating, though," Mrs Reid said.
"This will definitely put it on the map.
It's a bit like a Michelin Star for a restaurant. It means there's a quality standard and that a certain criteria has been attained."
The Chinese Garden could now market its association with the New Zealand Gardens Trust, Mrs Reid said.
"We will be celebrating the assessment with all our partners in Shanghai who will, no doubt, be delighted to learn of this honour," she said.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the recognition would increase interest in the garden.
"National gardens are outstanding in most ways and have a distinct identity of their own; a character that gives them an edge," he said.
"We look forward to the garden management team taking full advantage of the opportunities this represents."
Other Dunedin gardens recognised with national significance are Glenfalloch and the Wylde Willow Garden in Abbotsford.
Larnach Castle and Dunedin Botanic Garden have been designated gardens of international significance.