Palmy Rocks set to blow out first birthday candles with a photo exhibition

Palmy Rocks co-founders Heather Knox, left, and Kate Parlane have set up the "Palmy Rocks: We Are One" photo exhibition.

Palmy Rocks co-founders Heather Knox, left, and Kate Parlane have set up the "Palmy Rocks: We Are One" photo exhibition.

Rocking up to its first birthday, Palmy Rocks is celebrating with a special photo exhibition.

The Palmy Rocks: We Are One exhibition is to feature the more than 18,000 pictures posted to the Facebook page over the past 12 months. 

The nationwide craze where people decorate, hide and hunt painted rocks started modestly in Palmerston North on August 14, 2016, with six friends and a Facebook page. Heather Knox and Kate Parlane had been inspired by an article about the Kitsap Rocks group in the United States.

Palmy Rocks is turning 1.

Palmy Rocks is turning 1.

"During the [September] school holidays, the idea really took off," Parlane said. "People just started sharing photos of their rocks on the page. It was organic, spontaneous. We never asked them to."

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Putting the call out to come and see Us

It really had been a case of throwing a small painted rock into a still pond and watching the ripples spread. There are now 7500 members of the rock group, and their photos will be on display for two weeks from August 13  in the boutique Us.Studio gallery on Palmerston North's Cuba St.

"Eighteen-thousand photos – it's pretty exciting. You're invited to come along and spot your rock," Parlane said.

With all those photos in the small gallery space, it could be a case of "Where's Rocky?" for anyone trying to find a picture of their painted creation. 

"When you look at all the pictures, you realise just how many people are doing them," Knox said. "The grass-roots level impact of something as simple as painting and hiding rocks has been amazing."

Among the personalities caught on camera with Palmy Rocks have been television stars Jono and Ben, Olympian Valerie Adams, Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith, and Jordan Watson of How To Dad.

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Palmy Rocks has spawned more than 60 other groups around the country, as well as in Australia and the United Kingdom.

The decorated rocks have found their way across the US, while Knox even had an inquiry about starting a group in Kiev, Ukraine.

A rock adorned with one of her small brown kiwis ended up in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I got a reply that said 'for a wee flightless fellow he's done quite well'," Knox said. 

"People get different things from it. There's the community and social side, there's getting out and exploring city parks with your kids, and the painting creative side."

There had also been business and marketing opportunities for companies offering prizes and rewards to those finding their rocks.

Parlane said there were plans to have a rock swap trading post at the exhibition for anyone who had rocks at home "collecting dust".

Supported by the Palmerston North City Council, Palmy Rocks: We Are One launches at 2pm on August 13  at Us.Studio, 188 Cuba St, and will be open between midday and 2pm daily from August 14  next week until August 27.




 - Stuff


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