Global stone painting craze rocks Waiheke

Palmy Rocks has led to similar groups being started in Feilding, Dannevirke and Waiheke.
Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ.

Palmy Rocks has led to similar groups being started in Feilding, Dannevirke and Waiheke.

Auckland's Waiheke Island has become a treasure-hunting ground as a new craze takes the community by storm. 

Waiheke Rocks is a family-friendly activity that encourages people to get creative, get outside and have fun with others.

The craze, which began as an Oregon mother and father's tribute to the death of their two young daughters in 2014, has slowly swept the world and reached Waiheke. 

Finley Miles, 3, Tui Miller, 3 and Emilie Bell, 4 found some special treasures at a Waiheke playground.
Shani Williams

Finley Miles, 3, Tui Miller, 3 and Emilie Bell, 4 found some special treasures at a Waiheke playground.

The idea is to paint a stone, add a coat of varnish to weather-proof it, and then take it to a park or playground to hide it.

READ MORE:
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When someone finds the stone, they photograph it, re-hide it and then put a post on the group's Facebook page so the artist can follow its travels.

One hundred members have joined Waiheke Rocks in one week.
Shani Williams

One hundred members have joined Waiheke Rocks in one week.

The rocks are labelled to connect them back to the group that made them.

For example the label #WaihekeRocks leads finders to the Waiheke Rocks Facebook page. 

One week ago, Waiheke Island Playcentre teacher and mother Karyn McDonald set up the Facebook group, Waiheke Rocks, after hearing about children in Palmerston North playing the game.

"It seemed they were loving it so we decided to start it up on Waiheke, in conjunction with Playcentre Awareness Week"

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Several Waiheke rocks have travelled off island - taken to places as far as Wellington, Queenstown and Australia, McDonald said.

She has been amazed at the response - more than 100 people joined the group in one week.

"Every day I get two to three new requests. It's really catching on," she said.

McDonald said the activity was for all ages. 

"A lot of older people find rock painting relaxing and therapeutic, while youngsters enjoy the treasure hunt."

With 6000 members, Palmy Rocks is the biggest rock-finding group in New Zealand. 

Businesses, including Gloria Jeans and McDonalds, have become involved in Palmy Rocks and there are rocks hidden that offer free gifts, such as a coffee or children's meal. 

The only rules are that private property and sacred areas are out of bounds and to be respectful by placing the stones near to paths, so gardens don't get damaged.

 - Stuff

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