Two of the largest pieces of public art that adorn the New Zealand International Convention Centre are thought to have survived the fire.

It was feared the works, by New Zealand artists Sara Hughes and Peata Larkin and comprising 2400sq m of glass over 550 panels, would be blown out by the heat.

Larkin's 13,500 terracotta tiles that form a spine wall alongside the retail and dining laneway beside the yet-to-open centre hadn't even been uncovered.

Arttform director and broker Paul Baragwanath, who negotiated the commissioned work by SkyCity, told the Herald it looked last night as if the art was unscathed.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter capture footage of the New Zealand International Convention Centre fire. Video / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

"It seems to be okay, which is a great blessing," Baragwanath said. "None of the glass windows have blown out."

The news was delivered to him by Hughes about 6.30pm, while the fire kept burning overnight.

Though the main concern was that no one died in the fire, Baragwanath said after that the artists were worried about the works, a showcase of New Zealand's culture and environment.

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"They've been quite shocked and understandably upset but it seems to be that the news has gone in the right direction."

He said Hughes' unique glass artwork was already visible and people had fallen in love with it.

"Great art does that ... We will be relieved once the fire is out, everyone is safe, and the repairs of the building can begin.

Baragwanath thought the site of the fire, in the roof, might have saved the works which were set at some distance below.


The art was woven into the architecture of the building and would span a total 5760sq m once fully installed. It would eventually be illuminated by lights.

"It has taken years of work to get to this point. Once complete, the art-in-architecture will become a destination for people across the world."