Two rare works by influential painter Frances Hodgkins, found at a small New England auction house, have sold in New Zealand for nearly half a million dollars.

The oil paintings - titled Ibiza and River Boats - sold for a combined $464,125 at Mossgreen-Webb's Important Paintings and Contemporary Art auction in Auckland on Thursday.

They were discovered in a small, regional auction house in Maine, in the United States.

Mossgreen-Webb's head of fine art, Sophie Coupland said she believed the works needed to be brought home to New Zealand.

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They came to Mossgreen-Webb's directly from the family of writer Geoffrey Gorer, Hogkins' patron and friend.

Gorer's friendship with Hodgkins extended over two decades from 1940, over which time he provided her with his cottage, The Croft, at Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset, England.

The paintings attracted competitive bidding at the auction resulting in Ibiza selling for $240,875 and River Boats $223,250.

Coupland, said "the considerable interest these works received demonstrated the need for them to be brought home to New Zealand.

"We are very happy they have been sold to local collectors and will remain in the country."

Other highlights of the evening were Charles Frederick Goldie's, Kapi Kapi or Ahinata te Rangitautini, which sold for $352,500, above its pre-auction estimate of $200,000 - $300,000, a Don Binney work titled Te Henga from the Razor Back which was discovered in an Australian estate, achieving $152,750, against a pre-auction estimate of $90,000 - $120,000 and Fiona Pardington's Huia Lovers Family Print, achieving $31,725 well-above its pre-auction estimate of $10,000 - $15,000.