An intricate mural which caused controversy online when it was painted over has been replaced with a new design, earning the artist involved fresh praise.

The artwork, on a wall at Tikipunga High School, replaced one that was painted in May but was quickly covered over at the school's request.

A Facebook post showing the first mural being painted out attracted hundreds of angry comments.

Principal Alec Solomon said the mural was repainted due to an issue which arose after it was complete, but would not elaborate on what the issue was. He emphasised the school is confident that it followed correct protocol before the first mural was completed.

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Now a new piece depicting 4-year-old Shayla Te Maire Martin from Pataua, had replaced the first work.

Artist Earnest Bradley said he was pleased to have the opportunity to repaint the piece and that he had deliberately stayed out of the controversy surrounding his first work.

"I got the chance to go back and put something in its place and give the kids of Tiki [High] something to push forward in," he said. "When your work gets challenged forget the drama, focus, and move forward."

Mr Bradley - whose artist's name was Tawck - said a teacher at his high school had told him graffiti was not an art form.

"So I've spent every day since the day she said that proving her wrong. Don't give up in things you're passionate about and if you believe in your work don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

A photo of Mr Bradley's new work had been shared more than 1000 times on Facebook.