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Royal Opening of Christchurch Botanic GardensCentre

Royals to open the new Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will today formally open the new Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre by cutting a floral rope.

Designed along the lines of a giant glasshouse, the new $16.4 million building will combine a working nursery with a permanent exhibition telling the story of Christchurch through plants and gardens. It also has a gift shop, café (opening in May), function centre, and a botanical research herbarium and library.

The opening by the Royal couple will take place at 12.30pm.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the Botanic Gardens, which attract more than a million visitors annually and last year celebrated its 150th anniversary, holds a special place in the hearts of Christchurch people.

“Amid the destruction left by the earthquakes the Botanic Gardens provided us with a place of peace and beauty to relax in.

“The Duke of Cambridge visited us in the aftermath of February 2011 to offer us his support. It is wonderful to welcome him back with the Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate the opening of the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre, one of the first new Christchurch City Council facilities completed since the earthquakes.”

“This bright airy building is a far cry from the original staff building that stood on this site – it had separate staff rooms for men and women and chicken wire was put over the chimney to keep the possums out.”

At 4pm the Mayor will host 180 invited guests to formally hand over the visitor centre to the city and she will receive a botanical painting by eminent local botanist Hugh Wilson to be hung in the new building.

The building will be open to the public on Tuesday 15 April from 8.30am.

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