A fire broke out last night in the restaurant of the luxury Sofitel Wellington, and all guests have been evacuated for the night.
Up to 14 fire engines attended at the height of the blaze, which is now under control.
The fire service's area commander for Wellington, Dave Key, said the fire had spread from the flue of a charcoal pit that is part of the decor, and had got into the ceiling void.
He said that had structurally weakened the roof of the restaurant kitchen.
Firefighters with breathing apparatus have been hacking into the ceiling cavities to investigate where the blaze has spread.
An RNZ News journalist at the scene said water was being sprayed on to the roof of the ground-floor restaurant, which is housed in an extension to the multi-storey building.
The four-star Sofitel Wellington is on Bolton Street, about 100 metres from the Beehive, and has 129 guest rooms.