Most people were still sleeping when the first drops of ground-floor concrete were poured for the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery in Whangārei.
But while Whangārei residents slept, it was an early, and dark start for contractors at the Town Basin site on Wednesday.
A convoy of concrete trucks began delivering a total 210 cubic metres of concrete, which was poured to form part of the ground floor, at 4am and finished at 9.15am.
Clients project manager Ben Tomason, from Griffiths and Associates, said 20 people were involved with the pour.
Tomason said Wednesday's concrete pour covered about 500sq m of a total floor area of 1400sq m.
"Just over a third of the total floor area was poured."
He said contractors could now start to prepare for the walls in that part of the building.
"In this portion they'll start on the walls while they're preparing for the next slab pour."
He said that would be a "pattern that repeats itself" as contractors work from the east end of the building site to the west end.
Tomason expects at least two, possibly three further concrete pours will be needed to complete the ground floor.
After that, work will shift to the first floor.
He said the ground-floor pour, which covered some of the "tonnes and tonnes" of steel which had been laid, was a "really good milestone".
Tomason said the pour went to plan.
"We were slightly ahead of when we'd expected to pour."
The first pour also signifies work on the project in the ground coming to an end.
"It's good to have the first part of the building out of the ground so we can start on the walls."
Before the pour, contractors had been working on the concrete and steel ground beams which link all the piles together.
Last year, 75 hollow steel tubes were sunk into the ground at depths of between 28m and 35m to create the piles. These were then excavated before the holes were filled with steel and concrete to form the piles.
The $29 million project is due to be completed late next year.