Downtown Whanganui was "crazy busy" on the Saturday of the Whanganui Walls street art festival - and residents can now see the finished result.

The March 28-31 festival brought eight international mural artists to town, to paint eight walls and mentor seven teenage artists. Whanganui-based mural artist Simon Ormerod was one of the organisers, and painted in Rutland St.

"I started painting [on Saturday] and there were 20 or 30 people stood behind me most of the day. It was crazy busy. There's a massive buzz around the city," he said.

The 1000 booklets about the festival all went quickly, and comments on social media have been enthusiastic.


"Such a cool event with amazing, talented artists. Great to see the walls coming alive - bring on the next one," Claire Rettig said on Facebook.

A video of the festival will be made, and the street art will become a drawcard for visitors, Ormerod predicts.

Most of the building owners approached were happy to have the murals on their properties.

The artists had fine, warm weather to work in, and organisers paid them and made sure they had good food and lodging. The event happened across the second Whanganui Artists Open Studios weekend, and the two "built off each other".

None of the artists were panicking as they moved toward finishing their walls on Sunday, Ormerod said.

"It's not something new for them. We are all fulltime mural artists."

He didn't want to pick any wall as a favourite, but said guest artist Jacob Chrisohoou's portrait of his sister, who has mixed Māori and Greek descent, was getting a lot of comment.

The organisers had deliberately chosen a diverse range of artists, so people are sure to like at least one of the walls.


"For me, every piece is amazing in different ways, because everyone has their own style and their own takes on what they want to do."

Ormerod travels the world and paints for a living, under the name Cracked Ink. In Whanganui he has a mural in St Hill St near the Royal Wanganui Opera House, one on the back of the Castlecliff toilets, and several on Chorus boxes - mainly around Gonville.

The festival has been in the back of his mind for two years.

"I wanted to do something for Whanganui because I live here. I just love the place. It's so cool and vibrant, with lots of creativity."

Funding for the festival came from Whanganui and Partners and Creative New Zealand, and businesses chipped in with equipment and materials.