The Mayor of Napier Bill Dalton on Friday gave his blessing to a group of national and international artists in the city to paint the town red - and other colours.

The blessing came at a welcome on the lawn near Pania of the Reef on Napier's Marine Parade, with the 30 artists who are taking part in the global street-art project Murals for Oceans.

Four walls of Napier City Council-owned buildings have been transformed into sea walls as part of the Murals for Oceans Festivals.

The colourful creations can be seen on the south side of the Civic building off Hastings St, the seaward side wall of the National Aquarium of New Zealand on Marine Pde, the west wall of the amenity block at Pandora Pond, and the retaining wall behind Scenic Hotel Te Pania, off Byron St.

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During the festival, supported by the council, MTG Hawke's Bay will also host an artists' panel discussion, and is planning screenings of associated films in the Century Theatre.

The festival, previously held in Los Angeles, Vietnam, Mexico and Sri Lanka, is organised by international non-profit organisation PangeaSeed Foundation, raising awareness about the ocean through beautification. It is the first time it has been held in New Zealand.