Massive mural painted on historic Auckland building without owner's permission

The owner of a historic Auckland building says he's shocked a street artist painted a huge mural on their property without consent.

The large mural was painted on the historic building, which is next door to the old Mercury Theatre in downtown Auckland, by Jesse Jensen aka Ares Artifex.

The property manager told Newshub the owner was never asked by Jensen if the wall could be painted and the owner has been left distressed and shocked.

Jensen said he thought consent from the tenant was enough and he'd be sorry if the painting had to go. 

"I am very sorry for the building owner that I have painted the building without their permission, that wasn't my intention," Jensen said.

"I think destroying the heritage of the current generation isn't worth it to preserve a blank wall of some by-gone era."

Those Newshub spoke to were mixed about the painting.

"It brings more colour to the whole building," said one person, while another said they preferred the original style.

On the issue of if the painting should have gone ahead without consent, most said they wouldn't have been happy if they owned the building. 

"Oh I wouldn't be particularly happy," said one person. "It may be more of a reason to remove it," said another.

On Monday, Jensen was asked to stop, but on Tuesday, another artist, who had been helping him, continued spraying the wall.

Jensen has had other works painted over by Auckland Council. The Council's war on graffiti has cost $20 million over the past five years.

"I want people to see beautiful artwork in public spaces," says Jensen, who plans to paint over it to remedy the situation.

But the owners say that won't cut it and say the whole building will need to be repainted costing them thousands.

Police have been contacted.