A Tauranga artist will have his work immortalised in Whangarei after winning a local competition.

Two birds triumphed at Whangarei's fourth Sculpture Symposium, with Rex O'Brien's kukupa-shaped "Kaitiaki Manu" taking out the top prize.

The 10-day sculpting marathon - where artists produced works "live" on Whangarei's Hihiaua Peninsula - brought in more than $60,000 for the 24 artists involved. Mr O'Brien's work was named top of the lot by judges Andrea Beazley, Keith Grinter, Paul McDonald and mayor Sheryl Mai.

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Creative Northland bought Mr O'Brien's work for $6000 as a gift to the public, which will be displayed on the city's Hatea Loop sculpture walk.

Taking the crowd's fancy and winning the $500 Quest People's Choice Award was Greg Maddox's Poukaia, a dramatic driftwood eagle.

Creative Northland organisers described the theme, migration, as relating to "intrinsically connected elements, a sense of place and sense of belonging - a movement".

"It's the architect of past, present and future," said Creative Northland general manager Hinurewa Te Hau.

Ms Te Hau said the works auctioned on Wednesday night earned more than $60,000 for the artists.

Peter Schouten carved a small sandstone ruru (morepork) and donated $500 of his profits to North Haven Hospice, while Paul Brunton gifted $300 to Habitat for Humanity from the sale of his "Reality of Dreams" piece.

About 400 people attended the auction on Wednesday night and between 6000 to 7000 visited the symposium over the 10 days.