The first collection of Banksy art work to be displayed in the North Island will be part of the Tauranga Street Art Festival.

The official launch of 2017: Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival will be held this evening , with the festival running from March 28, 2017 until the end of June.

The event would bring the Oi YOU! Collection, which holds 22 Banksy pieces and artwork from international and national artists, to the Bay.

Owner of Oi YOU! George Shaw said he thought the Banksy pieces would attract people from around the North Island to Tauranga.


"It's an amazing thing for Tauranga."

He said he first discovered Banksy's artwork in 2005 during a party when a man asked if the design on his shirt was that of Banksy's.

It was not, but the next day he looked up Banksy on Google and he "fell in love" with the work.

"The first time seeing it we had to have it in our lives.

"Very quickly an interest turned into a passion, then into an obsession."

Mr Shaw said artists would be creating murals across the city and inside the Tauranga Art Gallery.

"The city is going to end up with some amazing murals.

"These artists exemplify the diversity of street art and the talent that has helped thrust street art into the public eye and build it into one of the biggest art movements the world has seen."

Tauranga City Mayor Stuart Crosby said he was thrilled for the event to come to Tauranga.

"We will be giving our communities and visitors the unique opportunity to experience and to enjoy street art in a variety of settings: in our art gallery, on prominent walls across the city and within our communities.

"With works on show from Banksy, who is arguably the most prominent street artist in the world, as well as renowned artists, Tauranga has been given the chance to take its place on the world street art map."

Tauranga Art Gallery's director Karl Chitham said the gallery would be turned into an immersive street art experience.

"Alongside installations by six renowned street artists, we will have the Oi YOU! Collection on display featuring works by well-known and infamous personalities such as Banksy, Faile, Paul Insect, Swoon and Anthony Micallef."

Artists such as Askew One, Lucy McLauchlan, Sofles, Charles & Janine Williams, Jacob Yikes and Ernest Zacharevic will be displaying their work.