Fire rock retrievers reap real rewards
More than a dozen children had special access to the Palmerston North Fire Station as a reward for finding hand-painted Palmy Rocks.
Since July 2016, hand-painted collectible rocks had been distributed around city parks for families to get out and find during the school holidays.
After borrowing the hidden themed rock idea from Palmerston North police, firefighter Dan Nesbit said his colleagues wanted to bring children a bit of extra joy by giving them a tour of the station.
About 16 children had a go at using the hoses and having a closer look at a fire truck during the visit on Saturday.
The children were also given certificates to congratulate them for finding the rocks, Nesbit said.
‘‘We thought we’d try one better than the police. It’s a bit of friendly competition.’’
Nesbit said they would look at holding another event for fire service-themed rock finders in the next school holidays.
Lucy Higginson, 7, who found one of the rocks, said the best part of the day was getting into the fire truck.
‘‘I liked that because I don’t like my shoes getting wet [by the hose]. They’re my favourite,’’ she said.
Six of the fire service themed rocks were hidden in parks across the city as encouragement to explore the great outdoors.
The children who found them were able to bring their siblings along for the day of fun.
Joining the finders was rock artist Bronwyn Bateman and her four children.
The fire station visit was her ‘‘commission’’ for painting the fire service-themed rocks.
Her son Sam, 6, was particularly excited to be at the fire station as he dreamed of being a fireman.
‘‘Sam’s ambition is to be Fire- man Sam,’’ she said.
Bateman had painted dozens of rocks and had no plans for stopping any time soon as she had received about 80 more requests. People wanted painted rocks for graveyards, wedding receptions and for all sorts of other occasions and causes.
‘‘We’ve been inundated. I’ve been painting until 2 to 3am at night,’’ Bateman said.
She doesn’t accept money for her work.
‘‘I don’t get paid. It’s all for the goodness of doing it.
‘‘It’s good for the kids in the community,’’ she said.
Hayden, Mila, 3, Kate and Baxter Robinson, 1, with their fire rock.