Rock hunting and hiding: The rockin’ new hobby spreading kindness in New Zealand

Painted rocks all began in the U.S with a little group called Port Angeles Rocks founded by a group of women who thought that a community art project such as this would be fantastic for homeschooled students in Kitsap County. It now has well over 7,000 members, providing a sense of community among local families and residents as well as an exciting weekend or after school activity.
Vic Rocks in Australia (which has over 30,000 members) was founded by Jude Rangitaawa and Julie Walker in 2017. They run the Moongala Women's Community House in Bentleigh East and thought the activity would be a perfect way to instill a community vibe and get children enjoying the great outdoors.
If you love the idea too, why not start up your own local community Facebook Group? We bet it would rack up the followers in no time.
We can't tell what children would love more - creating magnificent rocks, or finding their own special little treasure!
In New Zealand rock hunting is spreading throughout the country. Children can be spotted in public places at all hours of the day, searching under bushes, enjoying their new hobby. Sometimes parents get caught up in the expeditions, on which any disappointments are quickly dispelled by the thrill of a find.
The activity, which taps into the need for positivity in an uncertain world, comes with its own language. There are ‘rockers’, ‘painters’, ‘hiders’, ‘rock drops’, ‘rock hunts’ and ‘rock pals’.

Rachel Pascoe with a ‘find’

Forty-year-old Auckland rock star Rachel Pascoe started the local Facebook group Rocks New Zealand in March; the site now has more than 2800 members.
It’s two years since she first heard about the craze, but rock hunting and painting now takes up a lot of her time, along with bringing up her seven-year-old daughter, Katherine, and two-year-old son, Max.
It all began when Rachel’s mum, Bev Foreman, who lives near Taupo, sent her a couple of rocks she’d painted and asked her to hide them. “I thought she was a bit weird,” says Rachel. “When you think about it, drawing a picture on a piece of rock, then sticking it in the bush somewhere – what’s the point?”
Rachel says her husband gave her a funny look when she told him what she was off to do. Nevertheless, “We started hiding them – but didn’t find anything for two months.”
Undeterred, she joined the local rock group, one of dozens throughout the country. “One of the ladies gave us some tips on how to find them, and then we found our first one, a rainbow rock,” says Rachel. “We replaced it with a red ladybug.”
They found a couple more and shared their pictures with a Facebook group. Before they knew it, the hobby had become addictive. “A couple [of rocks] came home [with us] but then we’d go out and hide others,” says Rachel. “On weekends, we’d go together, and then I’d sneak out by myself during the week.”
A bonus was that the activity gave this rocker an excuse to go for a walk. “It’s a weird feeling, but it got us out of the house a lot more than what we otherwise would have,” she says.
Some days, the family would spend two to three hours at the Botanic Gardens; they were walking four to five kilometres every weekend.
“Katherine didn’t whinge… she didn’t realise how far she was walking as she was stopping to look behind trees, watching the bees, learning about plants… When Max came along, we were going four or five times a week to the gardens, and frantically making more rocks each night.”
The artwork doesn’t need to be elaborate to appeal to children, says Rachel. They simply love the joy of the find.

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