Key Points:

Auckland's latest skirmish in the "battle of the roses" opened today as queues of people waited to get into the first Auckland Flower Show.

Organisers were expecting 10,000 people for the first day at its new venue at Alexandra Park but by midday the unofficial count had already topped 8000, said director Paul McLuckie.

The event known as the Ellerslie Flower Show since 1994 was previously held at the Ellerslie Racecourse where it attracted up to 120,000 people.

It moved to Manurewa, south Auckland but numbers dropped off to a four-day total attendance of about 65,000.

Last year in a bidding war which became known as the "battle of the roses", the organisers sold the show to Christchurch City Council ahead of bids from Auckland and Hamilton.

The first show with the Ellerslie name was due to held in Christchurch in March. Earlier this year Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said the show to be held in his city was New Zealand's premier garden event and would enhance Christchurch's image as the Garden City.

Mr McLuckie said the queues today were "huge" but it was hard to say how many would attend over four days.

He said the new venue at Alexandra Park had the fans "raving."

The show was due to close at 6pm on Sunday.

- NZPA