International artists picked up their paintbrushes yesterday, and set to work transforming walls around Napier for the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival.

Although the festival was opened on Sunday, yesterday was the first day the 20 artists spent painting. Over the next week they will create large-scale works of art to share a message of ocean conservation.

Just one day in, PangeaSeed director of operations Akira Biono said they were already receiving a good response from the public.

Today, pedestrians stopped in their tracks to watch the murals begin to take shape on walls around Napier, and spoke with artists about the finished product would be.


Ms Biono spent the day handing out maps detailing where each of the 20 works are located, as well as showing the 29 murals created last year.

It seemed like a lot more people were aware of the festival this year, she said, following the success of the 2016 festival, which had been the first of its kind in the country.

While people were often bombarded with "grim and negative" information about the environment, PangeaSeed hoped the festival would do this in a "positive and creative way".

Bringing the festival back for a second year reinforced the foundation's conservation message, she said, while the community events allowed residents to engage.

A range of these community-based ocean conservation events will be staged this week -
including a scavenger hunt, art exhibition, and artists' panel discussion.

Ms Biono encouraged residents to pick up a map, scout out the new murals, and if their artists were not busy painting, to ask them questions about their message.

The festival is hosted by the PangeaSeed Foundation in partnership with the Napier City Council and Alternative Arts Initiative. It runs until Sunday, March 26.

Maps of the Sea Walls can be picked up from the Napier I-Site, or partner organisations like the MTG and National Aquarium.