"We will get the phoenix out of the ashes," vowed SkyCity's boss as he and the Fletcher head sat alongside each other, promising the convention centre would be finished despite the devastating fire.
Fronting to nearly 100 journalists, with heads bowed and hands clasped, Graeme Stephens and Ross Taylor, the bullish chief executives of SkyCity and Fletcher Building, were adamant that the centre would eventually open, although no timeframes could now be given.
"It was an amazingly iconic building yesterday and will be again. We will get the phoenix out of the ashes," Stephens said.
Taylor backed him up: "This is a very important project for SkyCity, to Auckland and to New Zealand, and we will get this project finished and finished to quality and respect we want and make sure it's the iconic building and a very important piece of infrastructure Auckland needs and New Zealand needs. Fletcher is committed to getting the project finished and we will."
Whether that means complete demolition, re-building or only repairs remains unclear and neither man would comment in more detail about that.
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Stephens told how just yesterday morning, he and Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy had toured the site where stadium seating was being installed and soon "heavy lifting" of audiovisual equipment was planned.
"This is absolutely devastating for us," Stephens said, referring to his tour as "constructive, exciting, buoyed" by progress.
Stephens thanked SkyCity staff, the crisis management team, customers, neighbours, the wider business community and other chief executives and business leaders who he said had messaged him with support and offers to help.
Taylor outlined a three-step process which he said would now take place and were the next steps after the devastation.
"We are hoping the fire is under control some time today. Then first it's getting all the facts of what's occurred specifically," he said, referring to Fire and Emergency NZ and WorkSafe and adding that misinformation would be avoided and speculation about the cause was unhelpful at this stage.
Then, the next stage would be "gaining access to the site, where there will be significant damage so structural components and there will be heat damage, elements hanging and unstable and that will have to be assessed.
"Then there's a piece of work on making the site safe. There's a period which might be frustrating for everyone where we work through the investigation, understanding the safety and state of the site and making it safe before we can then get into working out where we go next," Taylor said.
"The emotions we're feeling - the only way I can describe it is incredible disappointment. It was only yesterday you could see the momentum we had on the site and it's just disappointing for Fletcher Building and Sky and the teams and they're very invested in what we're doing there so there's a lot of emotion around - and very understandably from my perspective," Taylor said.
Neither Stephens or Taylor would name the insurer but Stephens said it was "an international, they're robust and credible insurers and so at this stage we don't have any cause for concern".
Taylor said policies were signed by both businesses and were project works insurance "which we're both parties to" and public liability insurance.
Stephens said initial insurance discussions were already held: "We're busy going through that process of the insurance."
Taylor said sprinkler and fire suppression systems had been installed in the lower levels of the centre but not at the upper levels because they were not required during construction.
"All the systems were in place," Taylor said.
Asked how the fire started, Taylor said: "We just don't know. I don't know the name of the person. The fire was spotted and the site evacuated. Blowtorches and heat were being applied to the bitumen to do the joint seal but we have to do the investigation."
Taylor doesn't know if there was anyone in the vicinity of the fire at the time it started but referred to a worker walking downstairs, seeing the fire and raising the alarm.
Asked if deadline pressures and already-late delivery meant workers negatively and pressure for short-cuts, Taylor said: "We have a firm position that it's safety first and we will stop if there are safety issues."
Asked if there had been gross negligence or a deliberate act which caused the fire and that might null or void any insurance policies, Stephens said: "I don't think that's the case."
Asked about the roof material, Taylor said the products were "commonly used and the Spark Arena has the same roof".
Asked if government assistance would be needed, Stephens referred to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's visit later today and said: "Yes, she has been in touch. We will engage with her."
Asked about the five-star 300-plus Horizon Hotel next door, Stephens said: "There will be smoke damage. Doesn't look like water damage but that hotel is reliant on services from the convention centre."
Taylor refused to discuss the $40m liquidated damages SkyCity had already collected if there would be more post-fire and how the share price was affected: "I don't comment on individual projects and I don't comment on the share price," he said.
Stephens said SkyCity hoped to re-open the Sky Tower, hotels, bars, restaurants and the casino tomorrow "and that the fire would be contained by tonight. Our vision is unchanged. This will be an iconic destination for Auckland in the convention and exhibition space."