Three of Charles Goldie's finest paintings - currently on display at the Auckland Art Gallery - will go on sale early next year.

All three paintings are part of a collection owned by New Zealand opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

They are expected to bring in several million dollars when sold in April at an auction of Important, Contemporary and Historical Art at the International Art Centre in Parnell.

Te Kanawa's collection has been on long-term loan to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki for 25 years.

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Centre director Richard Thomson said the Goldies' worth was still being assessed but their imminent sale was "the talk of the art world".

"Since [Dame Kiri]'s owned them for so long they haven't previously come up under the hammer which makes them extra special," he said.

"Dame Kiri has a very fine eye for art and these are some of Goldie's best works. With the provenance they have, we are anticipating the interest will be unlike anything we have ever seen for a work of art in New Zealand."

He could not reveal which paintings would be sold but said there were two of Māori chiefs and one of a chieftainess.

The sale will also include other significant Australian and New Zealand works of art from Te Kanawa's collection.

Goldie art work has consistently sold for record prices for many years.

In 2010, Te Kanawa received a record price for another Goldie painting, Forty Winks, when it sold to a private New Zealand buyer for $573,000 at the centre - the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction under the hammer in New Zealand.

C.F. Goldie's painting Forty Winks went for a record $573,000 when Dame Kiri te Kanawa put it up for auction in 2010. Image / Supplied
C.F. Goldie's painting Forty Winks went for a record $573,000 when Dame Kiri te Kanawa put it up for auction in 2010. Image / Supplied

In April last year, Goldie's 1941 painting of Wharekauri Tahuna reached a record price for a painting sold at auction when it achieved $1.37m at an International Art Centre sale.

"Goldie has achieved a status as the most important artist in New Zealand art history, simply because his works are without parallel. His images of Maori chiefs and elders are pensive, soulful and alluring in a way that has never been achieved by other artists or in photographs. His works are national treasures," Thomson said.

Further details of the works and the sale would be available early next year.

Thomson is negotiating with collectors of other major works to be included with this unprecedented offering.

"This is a very rare opportunity not only to acquire some of the finest works of art by Goldie, but also to acquire something with an impeccable provenance."