Rock parties (for the kids and the taller people) left right and centre – all thanks to Tauranga Rocks

dsc_0634A craze has hit Tauranga and it’s hit hard and good.

Tauranga Rocks, the facebook page, got 600 likes within a- kid’s-handful-of-days, and now a month later has 2,828 members. It’s not a tourism page touting why living in the Bay is so darned brilliant, although in saying this, when an individual or family plays ‘Tauranga Rocks’ they get to know their neighbouring or far away parks & reserves in a joy-filled, physically active, treasure hunt, inexpensively-visual-art way.

Got you curious, yet?

Here’s the kawa (rules):

– Get the kids (and big kids) painting stones will acrylic paint or test posts. Be as created as you like, or pick a theme up to you. Grab stones from your garden or friends gardens or the Rock Shop
-Varnish the stones so they last the elements
-In vivid write # Tauranga Rocks on the back
-Take a photo of your rocks and post to page with where you are going to hide them. You can even post other pics as clues.
-Check back on the page to see who finds your rocks.
-If you go hunting check the page for a list of areas where rocks are recently hidden.
-If you find rocks post a pic of the ones you find. Keep a few and reside the rest for other kids to find.
-Share the page with your friends!

The stories generated from this initiative are very touching. And the results simply captivating. Rivalling grandparents being head-hunted from overseas, commissioned to paint landscapes-on-palm-sized-rocks. A collection of superhero symbols any child (young or old) would go bananas over. And my so far favourite these ‘touch-stones’. They way they glow positively fills me with wonder.

An exhibition anyone? The Artists…

Claudia Thompson


Jill Solich


Gerry Solich


Delcie Taitumu‎


Jahleen Pallett


Sonya Reynolds-Williams


Fran Michael Strange


Jana Heller

I’m thrilled that art is coming out of the galleries, out of the in-side (in every meaning of that word), out to the out-side. Here is more ‘street-art’, not graffiti, nor yarn-bombs, but art that/on rocks and brings us back to nature, ours and everyone’s.

During the talk on the relationship between heart and womb at Bethlehem Birthing Centre last weekend, Acupuncturist Debbie Karl called, “Nature is authentic. If you want to ramp up your authenticity – get out in it.”

How did all this art meets rocks meets nature begin?
Palmerston North was the first centre in Aotearoa to start this game, that i reckon beats PokemonGo and gives geocaching a run for it’s fun.

Heather Knox started the Facebook group Palmy Rocks after being inspired by an article on a parenting website and the group where it all began, Port Angeles Rocks in Washington.

Lisa Millar, a Mum with some get-up-an-go, got the Tauranga Rocks group started. Kia ora Lisa, we appreciate you sharing this community project with us. You must feel so heart-warmed and joy-ful that so many young people, and not so young people are benefiting from this initiative, your gift.

A few tips from some of us keen-bean-rock-painters:
1) Having read the article about Ms Knox, i liked the mention of not affixing / glueing things to the rocks, as these creations are being placed under trees and near waterways and we don’t want any plastic wobbly eyes, or glitter falling off and polluting these relaxing spaces we are all getting to know better.

2) Word on the street too is, make sure to coat the rocks (if they’re ever gonna make it outside your house) in a varnish. Nail polish is an easy-to-source option. Paint from un-varnished rocks, or rocks not painted with exterior house paint can ‘run off the rocks and onto the wee hands and clothing of the exuberant collectors’. A challenge to clean up before getting back in the car.

3) Some have gone straight to nail polish (to skip the varnish problem). I didn’t enjoy the ‘fall-out’ or should i say clean-up after this. Nail polish in hair, on oil-cloth table-cloth (whereas the kid-friendly paint, the same one we use at Playcentre) washes out, wipes away and can supposedly be eaten!

4) ‘Undercoat’ your rocks first, with whatever colour. White may be a good place to start. If waiting for paint to dry is not your forte, you could experiment with the not-so-eco-friendly-option of a graff artist’s can of spray paint.

5) My all-time-go-to-for-anything-creative-and-fun-friend says they play a micro version of this game in their garden daily. 5 year old hides rocks and 36 year old gathers with 18 month old, and vicky-versa. I like this spin on things, cos occasionally i have heard the disappointment of collectors heading off, after receiving a facebook notification a fresh batch of rocks have been dispatched, to find some-fast-one’s pipped them to the post, and no rocks can be a found.

The simplicity of this game is part of its charm, yet also the multi-dimensional extent to how it can be played.

The creative act.
The photographic recording.
The hiding in nature.
The hunting for ‘treasure’.
The choosing.
The letting go and thinking of others as one re-hides the remaining.
The returning to see who’s discovered what and whose.

I got so enthusiastic it made me wanna throw a party, and then another, and another and maybe more after that.

Rock on folks and feel free to throw your own rock party. Maybe lemme know how it goes?


  1. Hi Emily hope things are good in your life. Are you planning another yoga event soon? I d like to find a guitarist/vocal basker around town to play while I teach a new Yoga flow ‘Going Yinwards’. It ll be a 2.5hr workshop which meets people in our busy, fast, driven life style (which is Hatha/male/yang) and takes them on a journey inwards (pranayama, yin, meditation). Let me know if you can think of someone new, young, hippy, alternative.

    Also I m hosting another Soundbath with Deb and Rob was wondering if you d like to add it to your newsfeed they are truely enchanting !!! Please let me know if you d ever like a treatment would love to support Lots of love, aroha Nui Stella

    Friday 31th of March 7.15-8.15pm $20, ticket Stella 02102496390 or

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