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Publisher, journalist and historian George Griffiths, Chinese historian and retired general practitioner Dr James Ng and award-winning architect Ted McCoy received the awards at the Otago Anniversary Day Dinner in the Glenroy Auditorium.
The awards were established by the Dunedin Heritage Trust to recognise people who have made a significant contribution to the living heritage of Dunedin.
Bluestone Awards committee chairman Marshall Seifert said the calibre of the three inaugural recipients had established a strong foundation for the awards.
Dr Ng was awarded an MBE in 1989 and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996.
He also received a doctorate of literature from the University of Otago in 1996.
His four-volume work Windows on a Chinese Past took 12 years to complete.
Dr Ng was the inaugural Chinese Garden Trust chairman, the founding national chairman of the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Fund and spearheads the Lawrence Chinese Camp reconstruction project.
Mr Griffiths wrote the "Prester John" column for the Otago Daily Times for many years.
He also penned "Civis" and introduced the "100 years ago" column.
At Otago Heritage Books, he has been responsible for countless publications, manuscripts and historical works with a southern focus, including Dr Ng's Windows on a Chinese Past.
Mr Griffiths is completing a book on the history of music in southern New Zealand.
In 1990, he was made a Companion of the Queens Service Order for services to the community and in 1999 he was named Dunedin Citizen of the Year and awarded an honorary doctorate of literature by the University of Otago.
Retired Dunedin architect Ted McCoy's career was marked by his concern with the retention and enhancement of Dunedin's architectural heritage.
In 2002, he was honoured with the New Zealand Institute of Architects Gold Medal award and he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.
Mr McCoy has designed some of Dunedin's most notable buildings, including the completion of St Paul's Cathedral, the University of Otago Hocken Building (now renamed the Richardson Building), University College in 1969, the Otago Boys High School redevelopment in 1982 and the 2000 redevelopment of Otago Museum.