Is Banksy in Tauranga?

One of two "Banksy" works in Tauranga
One of two "Banksy" works in Tauranga

Street art similar to the works of Banksy has appeared on a Tauranga street, sparking speculation the international man of mystery himself may be in the country.

There's a line of paint running down the main street of Tauranga that leads to the artworks.

There's two children with a message, "big future, we love New Zealand", and a man and woman in a deep embrace while checking their phones.

But it's not what they show, but who might have put them there that's got everyone talking.

The anonymous British artist is well-known for his works such as these but there is no way of knowing if the Tauranga paintings are his or not.

Regardless, the Tauranga City Council's in no rush to remove them.

"We are not cleaning this off, absolutely not. This is going to become part of Tauranga City, Tauranga and a little bit of unique for us. Something people can come and check out," says Tauranga City Council communications manager Aimee Driscoll.

"It's the nature of street art, it has to be found and nobody knows where it comes from but it's pretty cool," she says.

Kiwi artist Owen Dippie knows his stuff when it comes to street art, but reckons these latest instalments might be a bit of a set-up.

"I think he is more of an artist to come all the way to New Zealand to recreate something he has already done so I definitely don't think they are real but I think it's cool that even something that's not his actual art is creating a stir like this."

But it's suspiciously timed - as the southern hemisphere's biggest collection of Banksy works is set to go on display in the local gallery. 

The collection will be displayed as part of Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival, which kicks off in March next year.