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Puzzles and board games

Come, challenge and enjoy yourself playing our traditional Chinese board games and puzzles, or test your dexterity with our marble game in the comfort of the Tea House or out in the sunshine of the Courtyard.


Thought to have originated in China, this seven-piece puzzle has been around for centuries and never ceases to baffle and entertain. Whether it's a duck, teapot or fox, let your imagination take over and see how many different shapes you can create. Be sure to leave enough time to fit all seven pieces back into the square case!

Marbles and chopsticks

Ready, set, go! Transfer as many marbles as you can from one bowl to the next as quickly as possible. Sounds easy? You can only use chopsticks!

Build your skills up at home and practise with something soft (marshmallows recommended). Who knows, you could be rivalling the current world record of 43 marbles in one minute.

Memory tiles

Was it the top left? Or that tile on the right…

This is a game to test your wits – how many moves will it take you to reveal all 10 matching pairs? After an extra challenge? See how many pictures and symbols you can identify on the tiles as different aspects of Chinese culture.

Chinese checkers

Interestingly, this game neither originated from China nor is a variation of checkers. It all began with Halma, an American board game invented in the 1800s, inspired by the British board game Hoppity. Re-invented in Germany and then re-introduced into the American market, the name of the game was eventually changed to Chinese Checkers for its exotic ring.

For two to six players, this is a game for all ages that puts your strategic skills to the test.


Originating in China, Weiqi was considered one of the four essential arts one must accomplish in order to be a cultured, scholarly gentleman of the aristocratic class. A highly strategic game involving trapping and capturing your opponents’ pieces and occupying the most territory on the board, players can ponder the next move indefinitely as a game does not have a distinctive ending.

This two player game continues to have a large following across East Asia today.


Challenge yourself or work as a team, this national sport of China is a great way to keep fit. Remember not to use your hands – the weighted shuttlecock must be kept off the ground at all times. There’s plenty of scope to add some flare and style into the mix! >

Wooden puzzles

A selection of puzzles designed to test your problem solving skills and your patience! Can you recreate what has been taken apart?

Dress ups

Take the time to try something different and dress up as a Chinese Emperor or Empress in the Tower Room at the Garden, traditional Chinese outfits for the whole family, for that perfect photo opportunity.

OAR FM radio station

Good afternoon and welcome to Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden's very own radio show on Otago Access Radio 105.4FM.

Lan Yuan has been and continues to be an invaluable tool, each show opens up new avenues to explore and delve further into the history and intricacies behind the garden. Lan Yuan airs every third Wednesday of the month at midday and is also available on podcast here.

Lan Yuan provides us with a platform to promote not only Dunedin Chinese Garden but also Chinese culture. If you're interested or knowledgeable in a particular field and would like to share this with our listeners, please get in contact with us at the Garden to discuss.


How the pandas came to Dunedin

Brother Panda and Sister Panda woke up one morning and played together while they ate their breakfast of bamboo shoots and water from the river.

“Brother, where does the river go?” asked Sister Panda.

“I don’t know” said Brother Panda.

They asked Mother Panda and she said “The river goes down the side of the mountain, through the forest, around the rocks and out to the sea.”

“Wow!” said Brother Panda. “That’s such a long way from where we live at the top of the snowy mountains!”

“What does the sea look like?” asked Sister Panda.

“The sea is very long, and very wide, and very deep. It’s like a giant lake that swirls, and changes and flows and moves with the wind and the moon” replied Mother Panda.

“Have you ever been to the sea, Mother?” asked Brother Panda.

“No Brother Panda, it is far, far away from here” replied Mother Panda.

Brother Panda and Sister Panda were curious about the sea, and wanted to know if indeed it was as Mother Panda had described. So they hatched a plan to follow the river down the side of the mountain, through the forest, around the rocks to see if the sea was as their Mother had said. Both Pandas were very excited, and hardly slept a wink that night.

Early the next morning, Brother Panda and Sister Panda crept out before the sun came up and wandered along the river until it was dark. Luckily, there was lots of bamboo so the Pandas didn’t get hungry. The mountain was icy and before they knew what was happening, both Pandas went slip sliding down the side of the mountain all the way to the forest! Brother Panda rushed to check on Sister Panda who was busy shaking off all the leaves and dusting off her fur.

“What lucky Pandas we are to be on such an exciting adventure!” Brother Panda exclaimed!

Brother and Sister Panda followed the river for many days and many nights through the dark forest. Slowly the forest grew lighter and lighter and there were many rocks for the Pandas to clamber over. Some rocks were big, and some were small and they got smaller and smaller and finer and finer until they became sand and finally Brother and Sister Panda found themselves at the edge of the sea.

Brother Panda and Sister Panda ran down to the sea and couldn’t believe it was so long and wide, and was all they could see for miles and miles. Brother Panda immediately padded into the cool water. “Come on Sister! It’s so much fun”.

A large wave washed over both Pandas and swept them out to sea. Luckily, a large log was floating nearby and they held onto it, drifting with the current and talking excitedly about where they might find themselves next.

Many days and nights later, the sea washed the log, with the Pandas holding on tight, into a city named Dunedin/Ōtepoti. They shook the water out of their fur and found a place just like home, at the Dunedin Chinese Garden.

Brother Panda and Sister Panda have made lots of new friends among all the children who come to visit them and they were renamed Yong Qi, which means courage, and Xuan Ze, which means chosen one.