Tauranga welcomes new art exhibition featuring 22 pieces from famed Banksy

An art exhibition has opened today featuring 22 pieces from graffiti artist Banksy - known for his political stencil designs.

The Tauranga Art Gallery is showcasing the street art as part of a 12 week festival. Source: 1 NEWS

The show is part of a 12-week festival showcasing street art in the city, and the Tauranga Art Gallery is definitely getting into the spirit.

Organiser George Shaw says it's the first time a major collection from the artists has been seen in the North Island.

"We put our first show on in 2010 and if someone said we'd be doing this seven years later I just would of thought ... nah that's never going to happen."

Mr Shaw and his wife started collecting Banksy's work a decade ago.

"But then very quickly an interest turned into a passion which turned into an obsession and within a four year period resulted in the artwork here," he says.

Although Mr Shaw wouldn't elaborate on the full cost of the pieces, it's estimated that those on display are worth at least $200,000.

Work by New Zealand street artists like Askew One, Charles and Janine Williams and Jacob Yikes is also on display.