A bronze gnome statue worth tens of thousands of dollars has been stolen from an inner-city Auckland art gallery.

The statue, titled Thinker, by New Zealand artist Gregor Kregar was stolen from its plinth outside the renowned Gow Langsford Gallery in the early hours of Christmas Day.

The thieves, wearing high visibility vests, spent a whole hour removing the $55,000 statue from its mount before loading it into a vehicle outside the gallery’s entrance.

Gallery Director John Gow said the two-metre-tall artwork had been installed just one week prior to the incident.

Gow Langsford has displayed artwork on the plinth at the corner of Wellesley and Kitchener Streets for 20 years.

This is the first time any artwork has been stolen.

Police said the theft was reported two days ago and they were investigating.

Police were trying to obtain CCTV footage to identify the thieves.

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