Cowles said she was happy to see the penguins sell for more than double the amount that was raised during the Christchurch Stands Tall giraffe trail in 2014.
Steampunk inspired Punk It Penguin, which was installed in Cathedral Junction in central Christchurch, was the most popular on the trail. It sold to a local steampunk fan for about $20,000, outbidding Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher who had been keen to buy it for steampunk HQ Oamaru.
Kircher, who tuned into the bidding over the phone, said the penguin quickly went past the amount he was willing to pay.
Artist Laura Hewetson with her creation, Punk It Penguin, in Cathedral Junction.
“I was really impressed with the overall concepts and the generosity of the people bidding. I’m sure the charity is really happy with the result.”
The steampunk penguin was designed by Laura Hewetson, who used the skills she learned while working at Weta Workshop on the film series The Hobbit.
Cowles said she was pleased many of the penguins sold for more than expected.
“There was a lot of anomalies where I thought ‘they won’t go for much’, and then they went for loads more than I expected.”
The Pop up Penguins auction in Christchurch on Wednesday raised just over $1 million.
Cholmondeley Children's Centre fundraising and marketing manager Tanya Cooke said the money raised at the auction would help families in need.
She said 500 children went to Cholmondeley every year for regular respite and care, and the charity relied on the public’s generosity to keep running.
“These families are facing critical issues like mental health, poverty, family violence, or a cancer diagnosis.
“Our families that we support are struggling more than ever and need your support more than ever before.”
The penguins were installed in libraries, supermarkets, museums and public places, with members of the public using a special app to follow the trail in December and January.
People walked a collective distance of more than 23,000 kilometres following the trail – greater than the distance from New Zealand to the United Kingdom.
The app was downloaded 10,500 times, and allowed users to vote for their favourite penguins.