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

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

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

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Heather Knox with a hand­ful of brightly dec­o­rated Palmy Rocks peb­bles.

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