Fantastic Street Art Now in Whangārei

In January 2019, the Whangārei District Council partnered with Street Prints Manaia to bring the very first International Street Art Festival to the hub of Whangārei central city. Whangārei is just over a two hour drive north of Auckland (easy to rent a car from our Auckland Airport or Auckland South branch) and is the gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Street Prints is about leaving artistic footprints throughout the streets of a community. Over five days local, national and international artists came together to paint 15 large-scale murals that are situated within easy proximity for people to be able to walk the arts trail.

Artist FinDAC, Photo Courtesy of Jordan Priddle

Local artists involved included Bryce Williams, Earnest Bradley, Melinda Butt and Mike Tupaea, and Auckland artist Charles Williams while some of the international artists included 2Alas from Miami; Askew One from New York; Dourone from Belgium; Fin DAC from Ireland; and Paola Delfin from Mexico.

Artist Amanda Valdes, Photo Courtesy of Jordan Priddle

During the festival visitors could watch the artists at work. The Whangārei youth played an important part of the event, helping develop the murals, and attended workshops to learn more about becoming involved in art. Street Prints runs a Youth Mentoring Program to inspire young people and help them to develop perspective in their own art journeys. Creative director of the festival Jah Smith, who is from the Far North, said the local and international artists mentored about 30 youth who were identified through different organisations including police, Ngātiwai, and Whangārei Youth Space.


Deciding the theme was a collaboration, the Creative Director Smith explains “We worked with Whangārei kaumatua Te Warihi Hetaraka to find the right theme for the event. His thoughts were to create an art event that joins all cultures and people and explores history but pushes forward to the future. With 10 international artists from around the world and 10 local Whangārei and Kiwi artists, the theme ‘Tuia te muka Tāngata’, which means ‘weaving the threads of Humanity’ fits perfectly. Whangārei is a multicultural hub with a vast and rich mix of communities.”

Artist Mike Tupaea, Photo Courtesy of Jordan Priddle