A West Auckland art programme working with vulnerable youth suffered a setback last week after all their spray can supplies were stolen.
Kakano Youth Arts Collective had just created the first in a series of native bird murals when their supplies were stolen - a colourful pihupihu (wax eye) at Henderson Railway Station.
About $700 worth of spray paint was stolen from their Corbin Estate Arts Centre workshop, creative director Mandy Patmore said.
"I stashed it all away and I got a phone call the next morning that the door had been broken and all the paint was gone."
She has started a fund-raising campaign on the group's Facebook page to ensure they can continue creating the rest of the murals.
"We've got some kids that society might deem a little bit tricky to work with and we just see their potential and see how much they have to offer," she said.
Nathan Cole has been a stalwart of the course after being caught tagging by police as a youngster.
He said he got a buzz from the reception the community gave the murals.
"It feels cool even when you're doing it and cars driving past and beeping ... It feels good."
Another student, who didn't want to be named, said he was glad he discovered Te Kakano.
"It's better to do my work legally than illegally - it benefits me better, I can make more money with it instead of getting into trouble for it."
The student, who now creates commissioned art pieces, said he was glad he had been able to hone his skills.
As Te Kakano students were putting the finishing touches on a Railside Avenue mural, Deidre Rich walked past.
She was so impressed by the mural she enquired about creating a similar mural for the Te Atatu RSA.
"I think it's important as a community that we embrace our culture and our art, and by putting art on buildings like this it makes people become aware," she said.