Passport to promote parks
Palmy Rocks was a big hit last school holidays. Decorating small stones with colourful designs and leaving them in city parks and reserves for others to find and collect also caught on in other centres around the country.
Keeping the momentum up on free family fun in the city’s great outdoors, Palmy Rocks’ Heather Knox last week went live with an idea she described as ’’a guaranteed treasure hunt’’.
The Palmy Passport to Play, with city council backing, is an explorer’s handbook.
Available at all library branches and online, the trial programme invites participants to collect ‘rubbings’ from the 10 yellow posts installed in city parks to win a $500 outdoors themed prize, as well as other spot prizes.
‘‘We wanted to do something for summer, but realised that a lot of people didn’t know where all the parks were,’’ Knox said.
As well as a map showing the locations, the 20-page passport contains ideas of things to do in each park, and a page to collect a rubbing of every park’s ‘stamp’, which is set atop the post.
For the summer trial, Knox said council set up the posts, provided a designer for the passport and sponsored the prizes.
She hoped the council would get a lot of entries for the prize draw and be encouraged to continue with similar programmes.
‘‘There’s real value in this. The challenge is aimed at encouraging locals to get outdoors, to love where they live and have fun.’’
She said outside activity was good for mental health and physical development.
‘‘By getting our children outdoors, they have fun, take risks and get exercise without even noticing it.’’
Complementing other initiatives by Knox, the Palmy Dirty Thirty, Manawatu Family Microadventurers and Palmy Rocks, her original concept included 40 park areas, meaning it could easily be expanded.
The council’s Jeff Baker said the design, printing and prize support for the trial came courtesy of the city’s placemaking initiative.
‘‘We worked with Heather for six months on which parks to choose and places to highlight. It runs until February when we’ll review it, but I’d like to think we’d get in behind another one.’’
He was impressed at how quickly the passports were ‘‘flying off the shelves’’ at the central library.
One down, nine to go - Isabelle Parkinson, 10, has made the first pencil rubbing on her holiday Passport to Play from the special post set up in The Square.