Top of the rocks
It may be just a handful of hand-painted pebbles that end up scattered randomly around city parks, reserves and public land, but metamorphically speaking, Heather Knox’s Palmy Rocks are on a roll - here and elsewhere. Palmy Rocks has turned small coloured
Pokemon Go is so gone. In its place is Palmy Rocks - a nondigital idea that is quickly catching on around the country.
Heather Knox has been behind several community initiatives to encourage families to make use of the city’s numerous free outdoor opportunities.
There’s the Palmy Dirty 30, 30 fun family (and possibly muddy) things to do in the local great outdoors, and the weekly Manawatu Family Microadventurers.
Both though, have been well and truly upstaged by Palmy Rocks, an inspiration Knox gleefully swiped after reading about the US Kitsap Rocks group online.
‘‘Basically, it’s about painting rocks and hiding them in parks around town for others to find. It started as an art project, but my personal angle is about encouraging people to get outside and explore. For small kids, any brightly coloured rock is a treasure.’’
As a result, many families have been to city parks and reserves they may not have otherwise visited, looking for the ‘‘collectibles’’.
The mum of two kicked it off on Facebook in August, and the ripples have rapidly spread.
By September, numbers had reached 800. Now, spurred on by the school holidays, there are more than 2000.
‘‘The response has been quite crazy. A lot of school holiday programmes got involved by painting rocks and hiding them.’’
There’s been an even wider spinoff. Others are now ‘‘rockin’ it out’’ around the country.
‘‘Inspired by Palmy Rocks, similar groups have started in Feilding, Dannevirke, Marton/ Sanson/Bulls, and Wellington, and someone mentioned starting a rock group in Christchurch.’’
Even businesses have climbed onboard, offering prizes when finders hand branded rocks in.
‘‘Palmy is seen as cool for getting it started.’’
Knox said she encourages people to make their rocks weatherproof with a sealer so they don’t taint the environment.
‘‘It’s really adaptable - you can paint what you like on them. We painted yellow rocks for the Hope Walk in The Square, and cherry blossoms for the Spring Festival at IPU.’’
There’ll be halloween-themed rocks for people to find in The Esplanade during the halloween train rides next week.
‘‘It really promotes Palmy as somewhere fun to be.’’
Photo: MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ
Heather Knox with a handful of brightly decorated Palmy Rocks pebbles.