Artist re­vealed

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

Palmer­ston North may be the least sunny city in the coun­try, but it has the bright­est rocks.

Since the 2016 July school hol­i­days, the dis­tri­bu­tion of hand­painted col­lectible Palmy Rocks around city parks for fam­i­lies to find, pro­moted by Heather Knox, has taken off, with the idea catch­ing on around the coun­try.

Th­ese hol­i­days, Palmy Rocks has been taken to an­other level en­tirely.

De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Nick Par­lane from Palmer­ston North po­lice had en­joyed the op­por­tu­nity the idea pro­vided to get out with his own chil­dren in search of the rocks.

‘‘We got into the rock hunting ad­ven­tures. There was a bit of ri­valry about who could find the most, and run­ning ahead to find them first. It got me think­ing about how we could get in­volved from the po­lice perspective, and as a way of pro­mot­ing pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion be­tween young peo­ple and po­lice.’’

And so ‘‘Cop Rocks’’ came about.

‘‘Po­lice Palmy Rocks just evolved. I talked to the boss, area com­man­der Sarah Ste­wart, and she was very sup­port­ive,’’ Par­lane said.

The de­tec­tive painted three rocks, hid them, and in­vited fam­i­lies via the Cen­tral Dis­tricts Po­lice Face­book page with a post say­ing, ‘‘Are you a de­tec­tive? Have you found one of our Po­lice Palmy Rocks?’’. Those who hunt them out get a goodie bag prize.

When the rocks were brought in, he re-hid them in a dif­fer­ent park.

‘‘There’s one or two handed in each day and I haven’t made them that easy to find.’’

How­ever, Par­lane has been gazumped by the Palmer­ston North Fire Bri­gade. Sta­tion of­fi­cer Be­van Clark saw the po­lice idea and unashamedly pinched it.

In­stead of dec­o­rat­ing the rocks him­self, Clark upped the artis­tic ante by com­mis­sion­ing pro­lific Palmy Rocks painter Bron­wyn Bate­man to pro­duce six Fire Ser­vice themed rocks.

The re­ward to find­ers who post pic­tures of them­selves with the ‘‘Fire Rocks’’ is ‘‘some close-up fire en­gine time’’.

The Fire Ser­vice Face­book page at­tracted 50,000 views in just a cou­ple of days and had reached nearly 93,500 last Thurs­day, along with pic­tures of happy chil­dren hold­ing their finds.

‘‘That’s the beauty of Palmy Rocks,’’ Bate­man said. ‘‘When the kids find them it’s like win­ning Lotto.’’

Palmy Rocks painter Bron­wyn Bate­man at her din­ing ta­ble ‘‘stu­dio’’.

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