Global stone painting craze thrills Waiheke

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Palmy Rocks led to the creation of groups similar to Feilding, Dannevirke and Waiheke.

Murray Wilson / Fairfax New Zealand.

Palmy Rocks led to the creation of groups similar to 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, go out and have fun with others.

The craze, which began as a tribute from an Oregon mother and father to the deaths 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 special treasures in a Waiheke playground.

Shani williams

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

The idea is to paint a stone, add a layer of varnish to protect it from the elements, then take it to a park or playground to hide it.

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When someone finds the stone, they photograph it, re-hide it and then post a post on the group’s Facebook page so the artist can follow their travels.

One hundred members joined Waiheke Rocks in one week.

Shani williams

One hundred members joined Waiheke Rocks in one week.

Rocks are labeled to relate to the group that made them.

For example, the #WaihekeRocks label directs Internet users to the Waiheke Rocks Facebook page.

A week ago, Karyn McDonald, a teacher at the Waiheke Island Playcentre and mother, started the Facebook group, Waiheke Rocks, after hearing about children in Palmerston North playing the game.

“It seemed like they liked it, so we decided to launch it on Waiheke, in conjunction with Playcentre Awareness Week”

Several Waiheke rocks have traveled off the island – taken to Wellington, Queenstown and Australia, McDonald said.

She was amazed at the response – over 100 people joined the group in a week.

“Every day I get two to three new requests. It’s really gaining momentum,” she said.

McDonald’s said the activity is for all ages.

“Many older people find cave painting relaxing and therapeutic, while younger people enjoy the treasure hunt.”

With 6000 members, Palmy Rocks is the biggest rock band in New Zealand.

Companies including Gloria Jeans and McDonalds have gotten involved with Palmy Rocks and there are Hidden Rocks that offer free goodies, like coffee or a kid’s meal.

The only rules are that private property and sacred areas are prohibited and that one must be respectful when placing the stones near the paths, so that the gardens are not damaged.


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