Rotorua has picked up an international award for the Redwood Forest - one of only 12 in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Redwoods/Tokorangi Forest is the recipient of an international Green Flag Award in the programme's inaugural year in Australia and New Zealand.
Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters said the award was proof the Rotorua District Council's parks and reserves were among the country's best and could hold their own on the international stage.
The Parks Forum's Green Flag Award is a worldwide programme which assesses the quality of parks across a number of categories including safety, quality of the facilities, management of the environment and historical features, and as great places for people to play and recreate.
Mr Winters said The Redwoods was one of only 12 Southern Hemisphere Green Flag Award recipients; seven from New Zealand and five from Australia.
"Getting this prestigious award comes on top of a long list of national and regional awards for the council last year and further endorses Rotorua's reputation as having some of the best parks and reserves in New Zealand."
The council's parks and recreation manager Garry Page and council landscape architect Joby Barham are both accredited judges for the scheme.
Mr Page has been involved in pilot trials that saw the scheme introduced to the Southern Hemisphere while Mr Barham was a judge and assessed the Karangahake Gorge Green Flag entry.
Mr Page said healthy, well managed parks meant healthier communities, and the Green Flag Award shows which parks were setting the standard.
"It's great to see The Redwoods/Tokorangi Forest recognised formally on the world stage. Local visitors, as well as national and international tourists can be sure that they will be visiting a truly great park.
"Congratulations in particular to Redwoods Forest and Visitor Centre manager Julianne Wilkinson and her great team.
"They put in a huge amount of hard work behind the scenes to ensure our forest is available for recreational use and much of the credit for this award should go to them for their dedication and professionalism," he said.
Other New Zealand parks to receive awards were Tapapakanga Regional Park and Ambury Regional Park in Auckland, Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, the Karangahake Gorge, Parihaka Scenic Reserve in Whangarei and the Timber Trail Pureora-Orangue.