In Otahuhu, they're blowing things up for art's sake. In a carpark next to the SuperValue in Hall Ave, under a sturdy marquee, locals line up to puff and blow under the instructions of master glassmakers.
Over the next couple of weeks, the experts and their novice glassblowing assistants are making 1660 globes ranging in diameter from 90mm to 135mm. Some are clear, others lent tinges of blue or green by oxides of copper and iron melted in place in the final stages of their high-temperature creation.
The finished globes will be fixed to the ceiling of the almost-completed new library, hanging like a bright cloud above a 27m central walkway.
The artwork, by Brisbane-based New Zealand artist Daniel Clifford, is called Spirit Level, a name rich in associations not least because the word "spirit" derives from the Latin word for breath. The community is quite literally inspiring the artwork, as a dozen people per hour pucker up round the end of the long tube and inflate the still-molten glass.
The artist wasn't present on Sunday, except in this spirit, but in a short video available on YouTube, he speaks of how "the object is just a catalyst for the recording of our lives ... essentially we are having the community make the work".
On the second day of work, a sign near the marquee entrance announced that 1552 globes remained to be done. And under cover, the heat was on.
Glassmakers Justin Culina and Isaac Katzoff were presiding in the mobile workshop - the only one in the country - that Katzoff had built for the occasion. And even behind the barrier that kept the curious at a safe distance the heat was fierce enough to make your cheeks smart.
In a furnace not much bigger than a chest freezer, three crucibles held around 45kg of molten glass at a steady 1145C. Culina opened the white, fireproof sliding lids and in a process known as the gather, dipped and twirled the end of the long blowpipe in one of the white-orange crucibles, as if toffeeing an apple.
Within seconds he was on a purpose-built stool, rolling the pipe along a metal rail and using a wet cloth to caress the glowing blob into shape just as a potter shapes the spinning clay. A brief reheat in one of the open-mouthed finishing furnaces, evocatively known in the trade as a "glory hole", and the pipe was ready for blowing by one of the members of the local community who had turned up to do their bit.
It was a harmony between earth (glass is made from sand, after all), air, fire and water, and metal tools delicately deployed to shape material still in the process of becoming solid.
Glassmaking is an ancient process, in essence unchanged since blowing was perfected in the time of Caesar and Cleopatra. But there was a modern, almost industrial efficiency about the weekend glassmaking in Otahuhu.
Time after time, the blob on the end of the blowpipe ballooned like bubble gum, popping at one end at the second stage of each blowing to make a hole for the rod from which it will hang.
From there, it was into the relatively chilly 500C of the annealing oven, which is cooled slowly overnight so the glass does not crack.
Among the weekend blowers was 8-year-old Maxwell Koloamatangi, whose six-try rampage as fullback for his Otahuhu Rovers league team the previous day didn't seem to have robbed him of puff. At the other end of the age spectrum, Lil Hodges, 94 this week, had come along with the garden club of which she is a legendarily active member.
"It was a lot of fun," she said after her turn at inspiration. "I think it's really good to get the community spirit involved the way they have."
Project manager Mark Osborne, who was handing out adhesive numbers to newcomers, and urging the blowers on, explained that the artist's idea was to engage the community in the work.
"They're going to have ownership of this in a way that they never would have if we had just plonked the artwork in for people to look at and admire," he told me.
"People are always fascinated," a singleted Katzoff told me as he took a cooling break in the chill afternoon air. "They have an idea of how it's done but it's really nice to see them get excited by the blowing."
See more at otahuhumainstreet.co.nz.