Massive fire at New Zealand International Convention Center expected to delay opening

The under-construction Auckland venue has suffered a major blow as a fire has ripped through the site.

Smoke rises from the under-construction convention centre (Image: Getty)
Smoke rises from the under-construction convention centre (Image: Getty)

SkyCity’s New Zealand International Convention Center (NZICC) in the centre of Auckland has suffered major fire damage, in a blaze that began on Tuesday afternoon.

The New Zealand Herald has reported one person being injured and one firefighter hospitalised by the incident.

The NZICC is under construction and project constructors, Fletcher Building, and owners, SkyCity Entertainment, on Wednesday said that the "significant" fire is expected to delay the project, which is valued at NZ$703m and was expected to open in 2020.

A fire reportedly broke out on the roof at around 1pm local time on Tuesday, and an evacuation of the immediate area was carried out as the fire quickly spread. 

Fletcher Building said: "Once the fire has been extinguished and it is deemed safe to re-enter the site, investigations can commence to determine the cause of the fire and assess the extent of the damage."

A statement from the NZICC on Twitter said: "This is devastating news for all of the team, our partners and everyone who has contributed to the creation of NZICC. We want to acknowledge the bravery and hard work of the New Zealand fire service and the New Zealand Police. 

"The team are overwhelmed and humbled by all the kind words, messages and support offered from our family, friends, clients and business events community from all around the world. Please know that the team are committed to opening a world-class convention centre in the future."

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Wednesday there was "no question" that Auckland would still host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in 2021, with organisers now working on a plan B venue.

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