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18,000 Photos to Celebrate Palmy Rocks First Year of Rocking

18,000 photos to celebrate Palmy Rocks first year of rocking

A collaborative photo exhibition illustrating the Palmerston North community’s love affair with painted rocks opens next weekend.

Palmy Rocks, in collaboration with Placemaking Palmerston North, has amassed nearly 18,000 colourful photos sharing the delight of creating and discovering brightly painted rocks.

The exhibition opening marks one year of the painted rocks phenomenon reaching New Zealand. The local initiative was inspired by a news article about the Kitsap Rocks group in the United States. Since then, Palmy Rocks has inspired more than 60 groups to start up around New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Palmy Rocks started with the aim of encouraging locals to explore their home town, to get creative and to build community. It’s based on a Facebook group where members share their rock art, give clues to where they’re hidden and to let an artist know their rock has been found.

The Palmy Rocks Facebook group has over 7,500 members with nearly 18,000 photos shared on the page. There are also stories of people exploring new parks to hide and hunt for rocks, tales of what they’ve seen and done, who they’ve met while out rock hiding, and sharing top tips for painting supplies.

Heather Knox, founder of Palmy Rocks (rhyme totally unintentional) says “I’m more surprised than anyone that Palmy Rocks is still going strong after a year.”

“It’s awesome. What started as a Facebook group of six people has turned into something so much more. The ground roots level impact of something as simple as painting and hiding rocks on Palmy, and the country, has been amazing. Everyone has a Palmy Rocks story to tell.”

“Some in the community have found solace in painting rocks at a time when they’ve needed an outlet, others have found business and marketing opportunities. For some it has been an impetus to get out and explore nature and our wonderful local parks while rock hunting. For me, it turns out I really enjoy painting rocks, plus I love getting out and about hiding them. I’ve also met a lot of amazing people via running this project. But whatever people’s reasons, twelve months on, we’re still captivated by painted rocks.”

The idea of painting rocks as art isn’t a new idea. Knox has a philosophical view of what Palmy’s painted rocks are about.

“Palmy Rocks is all about spreading a little happiness, making memories and uplifting others. There is a perception there is nothing to do in Palmy, nowhere new to go and that we lack community spirit. The rocks are helping change that perception and spread a love of Palmy – around the city, country and the world.”

Palmerston North City Council has supported the We Are One exhibition as part of the Placemaking initiative. Council Planner Keegan Aplin-Thane is astounded with the results over such a short period.

“This exhibition will show the sheer value this concept has created to families across the city, region, and country. We’re proud that a local Palmerstonian has brought it to our doorstep. The Palmy Rocks group has had the biggest impact on getting families active and getting our parks used to date.”

The “Palmy Rocks: We Are One” exhibition will open at 2pm on Sunday, 13 August 2017 at Us. Studio, 188 Cuba Street, Palmerston North. It will run until 27 August 2017 and be open between midday and 2pm daily from Monday, 14 August.

Palmy Rocks online: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PalmyRocks


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