Opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has sold one of the finest paintings by renowned New Zealand artist Charles Goldie for the record price of $573,000 to a New Zealand buyer.

The oil on canvas, Forty Winks, was the keynote piece in a sale of important, early and rare works at the International Art Centre in Auckland yesterday.

Centre director Richard Thomson said he had spoken with Dame Kiri after the sale and she was "delighted" with the price.