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Otago Museum has gained the rights to host New Zealand's first exhibition of towering Chinese dinosaurs.

Te Papa, the national museum, was to have staged New Zealand's only showing of the ancient creatures, but the Otago Museum won the honour of the first show.

The Chinese Dinosaurs exhibition is being partly underwritten by the Community Trust of Otago.

The Government has been approached to provide more than $7 million in indemnity cover.

The $300,000-plus exhibition is the biggest and most expensive touring show to visit the museum.