The man behind The Giant Poppy project at Auckland Domain is overwhelmed at how quickly the Anzac art installation is growing.

Auckland-based artist Tony McNeight said 26,000 poppies were currently on display, and the 59,000 poppy goal - one for every New Zealander killed or wounded in World War I - would be reached by lunchtime on Friday.

The 59-year-old said thousands of people of all ages had come to place the red metal discs over the past five days, including many schoolchildren. Each poppy petal placed had a personal message attached.

The project has been a year in the making, after Mr McNeight came up with the idea on Anzac Day last year.


The display will be open for viewing throughout Anzac Weekend and will start to come down on April 28, but Mr McNeight said they were looking for a permanent home for The Giant Poppy in Auckland.

The Giant Poppy will be open until 10pm Thursday, 23 April and again from 8am - midday on Friday, 24 April when the last petal will be laid.

The Giant Poppy will be available to view until Monday night April 27.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is certain New Zealand defence forces "will give a fine account of themselves" in the joint training mission with Australia in Iraq to help Iraq fight the Islamic State. "They will be I suppose splendid sons of Anzacs, that's what they will be, over there in Iraq."