The new Super City logo closely resembles the emblem for Auckland's regional parks.

But the retired Cockle Bay commercial artist whose stylised pohutukawa flower won the logo competition said he was "definitely not aware" of the similarity.

Jim Dean yesterday received a trophy and a "best of Auckland" prize package valued at $10,000 for three variations on the pohutukawa logo, which a panel of judges selected from more than 1500 entries.

Head judge, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, said the design was a clear winner that "leapt off the page". Another judge, Hamish Keith, said it fitted the prescription of being concise, elegant and compelling. It was not a stereotype, but an image all Aucklanders could relate to, he said.

But Tony Oliver, the principal ranger for the southern parks, said he was a member of a team that designed the green and red pohutukawa logo for rangers' uniforms about 18 years ago. The pohutukawa symbol was taken from the council's coat of arms and stylised by a draughtsman.

Some rangers still wore shirts with the logo on, although it was not included on new shirts, he said. It is also used by the harbourmaster.

Mr Oliver and regional council chairman Mike Lee were pleased the parks symbol had been adopted for the Super City logo because it represented the environmental and parks missions of the council.

As for the $10,000 prize package, Mr Lee said: "We want our dibs. Poor old Tony Oliver should at least get a few beers out of it."

Mr Dean will work with professional designers to develop finished artwork for the Auckland Council logo.

The 69-year-old did not think he had much of a go against so many young, talented graphic artists. He started doodling, drawing inspiration from Auckland's coastal environment. The stamens on the pohutukawa flower represent the seven city and district councils coming together as one.

Mr Dean said he was "definitely not aware" the logo resembled a logo for Auckland's regional parks when he sat down to develop an entry.

Jane Berney, an Auckland University of Technology lecturer in advertising creativity, said the blousy, sprawling city of Auckland with a slippery personality never failed to knock her socks off.

"Does this design reflect that for me? Not really. Nothing extraordinarily wrong with it, but nothing that takes my breath away, like this glorious city does. Every day.

"Pohutukawa is an interesting segue to reflect the water theme that distinguishes our place on the map. But it reminds me a little of my school uniform emblem [in Canada] or possibly a DoC sign," she said.

Feedback to the logo to the Herald online has been mixed, ranging from "very nice and simple" to "super ugly, thanks". Anne, of Tawa, asked "what was wrong with the City of Sails"?

The other judges were artist Dick Frizzell, designer Karen Walker, broadcaster Bill Ralston, Pacific artist and curator Ema Tavola, and Wayne Pihema, who sits on the Aotea Centre board of management.

When Auckland City Council chief executive David Rankin introduced a new wavy blue logo in late 2007 resembling the Triangle Television triangular logo, it led to a complaint from the television company, changes to the council logo for events and entertainment purposes and $37,500 in legal fees.