An iconic mural in downtown Tauranga which has been painted over has upset residents and disappointed the artist who created it.
The mural created by Owen Dippie eight years ago is a depiction of the famous Charles Goldie oil painting of Ina Te Papatahi.
However, the trust behind a lot of street art in Tauranga believes people should focus on the new murals which have popped up across the region this week including one that will replace Dippie's.
Ina Te Papatahi (Te Ngahengahe, Ngāpuhi) was a niece of two prominent Ngāpuhi chiefs who were both early signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
Dippie, a Bay of Plenty artist, is known for his large portraits across the globe which often scale the sides of large buildings - including Bronco's Outdoors on Willow St where Ina Te Papatahi featured.
Staff at Bronco's said they did not have a problem with the mural and believed the decision to paint over it was made by the owner of the building they leased the shop site from.
In a statement to the Bay of Plenty Times Dippie's management said, "Owen was not consulted and we are very disappointed in this turn of events.''
One woman who asked not to be named had noticed the mural had been painted over yesterday morning.
As a fan of public art, she said it was a shame to see it go.
"I moved up from Wellington three years ago and we are used to seeing art all over the city, I think it's a good thing as it brings so much vibrancy."
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Other residents the Bay of Plenty Times spoke to shared this view but did not wish to comment publicly.
In the past week, 18 new murals have popped up around the region as part of Street Prints Mauao International Art Festival and a mural by local Ngati Tapu artist Kelcy Taratoa will replace Dippie's, said festival creative director Jah Smith.
The trust worked closely with Ngai Tamarawaho kaumatua Peri Kohu to develop a theme based on the whakatauki "ahakoa he iti, he pounamu" translating to "although small, it is precious", said Smith.
When asked about his reaction to those in the community who are saddened to see Dippie's mural being painted over, Smith said, "What mural? Be happy about the amazing new murals."
Tauranga is renowned for its large-scale, colourful murals and in the year ending November 2019, more than $500,000 of visitor spend in Coastal Bay of Plenty went to experiences related to art, culture and heritage, said Tourism Bay of Plenty destination and marketing executive Ella Shirley.
"Murals tell the stories of our region and bring art, colour and culture to the fore.
"Murals are woven into the fabric of the coastal Bay of Plenty."
Tauranga City Council mayor Tenby Powell believed the impact of Street Prints was widespread and added vibrancy to the city.