A large blaze this afternoon damaged a Wellington studio which has been used for filming for many of Sir Peter Jackon's movies, and took nearly three hours to put out.

Portsmouth Miniatures Studio confirmed the fire was in the Rongotai Road building, and no-one had been hurt.

The company had provided a large studio and shot all the miniatures and many special effects for the King Kong and Lord of the Rings movies, according to the company's website.

"The whole building's not completely gone, we'll just have to see what the smoke damage (is)," the studio manager, who did not want to be named, told NZPA.

She did not know the extent of the damage at this stage, or when the facilities would be up and running again.

"We'll know more when the investigation completes and we can get in there."

She could not comment on the number of people in the building at the time of the fire.

The film and television production studio is not owned by Weta Workshop. A spokesman for Sir Peter was not prepared to comment.

The fire was in a big commercial building right behind the Kilbirnie Fire Station, producing a large black cloud of smoke, one witness said.

The Fire Service received an automated alarm about 3pm, followed by a flood of calls from nearby residents. The nearby air traffic control tower at Wellington Airport also rang about the fire, Fire Service spokesman Chris Dalton told NZPA.

"We were lucky enough to have a fire appliance drive past at the exact same time (as the alarm), which saw some flames coming out of the roof, so we escalated the response straight away," he said.

The fire received a major response, which the service calls fourth alarm, out of a scale of one to five.

"I believe it was a workshop area and the warehouse part of it, and (in) the workshop area was a reasonable amount of damage -- but I think it was a good save, actually," Mr Dalton said.

LPG cylinders and other hazards were involved as well.

The fire was extinguished about 5.45pm, but two fire trucks remained to check out any flare ups.

The building has a valuation of $3.2 million.

- NZPA