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Rhythm n Rocks


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery — Palmerston North

Rhythm n Rocks was a public event run by Heather Knox, supported by the Palmerston North City Council’s Palmy Unleashed public space activation programme.

Heather kick-started the ‘Palmy Rocks’ movement, which focuses around giving children and families easy excuses to get outside and enjoy the natural environment. Painting pictures on rocks, hiding them and then re-hiding them in parks and other public spaces across the city, has built an unprecedented sense of curiosity in the everyday city environment. Originally targeted towards families, the movement has organically caught the attention of special needs providers, businesses and retirees who also take part.

Circle of painted rocks
Painting rocks
Children painting
Painting rocks
Children painting

Palmy Rocks has been another tool in the kit that Heather has used to promote balancing children’s screen-time with ‘wild-time’. Other campaigns have included family get-togethers in parks under the Manawatu Microadventurers campaign, free seasonal activity sheets specific to Palmerston North parks with Palmy Dirty 30 and hidden tohu that children can find and collect rubbings of with the Passport to Play campaign.

Rhythm n Rocks was a joint collaboration between Palmy Unleashed and Palmy Dirty 30 and involved rock painting, a local band and the creation of a massive koru out of 5,800 painted rocks. The idea grew out of a previous photo exhibition for the Palmy Rocks 1st birthday celebration earlier in the year and the desire to know how many rocks live out in Palmy land. The event generated much media attention and exposure.

The challenge was set to the Palmy Rocks community (approximately 7000 people on the Facebook community group) to contribute as many Palmy Rocks that they could to help build a massive palmy rock koru installation. This encouraged people to paint more rocks and bring in ones that they had stashed at home. An online pledge counter was created for people to pledge rocks before the event. A number of spot prizes from local businesses and organisations were given to incentivise people to pledge rocks, including books, vouchers, toys, stationary and even a ride in a police car.

Children painting
Painted rocks in the park

Local artist Keli Jarvis used Resene paints to produce a three dimensional artwork in the form of a ‘peace pole’ to act as the centrepiece for the community koru. The public started the community koru from the start of Keli’s centrepiece, and the koru grew throughout the day. Some people brought a few rocks, some people brought hundreds.

For those who may not be able to afford the paint for their own Palmy Rocks, the event organisers set up a rock painting station, with approximately 500 rocks to paint on the day, and a huge array of Resene Lumbersider testpots. The colour scheme chosen for the rock painting station was random to encourage people to use colours they have never tried before, and collaborate and learn from other painters.

The ‘peace pole’ koru centrepiece was inspired by the local landscape, flora and fauna, with a representation of Te Apiti. New life, growth, regeneration, harmony, along with nurture, unity, kindness and love.

Resene Pukeko was used to ombre’ the sunrise from the stars, blending in to Resene Belladonna and then through to Resene Shirley Temple to match the glow of the morning sun. Resene Waiouru made an earthy base for the flora to be brought to life in Resene Japanese Laurel, highlighted with Resene Limeade. Resene Blue Bell and Resene Bingo were used in all of the birds. The Tui flies off after devouring the honey dew from the flourishing rata painted using Resene Havoc with Resene Bright Spark tipped centres. Resene White was used to highlight colours where needed, as well as paint the Koromiko flower which lines the entrance to the Manawatu Gorge on the Palmerston North side. Resene Black darkens the depth of the Resene Pukeko night sky, reflecting creation, and the space of ultimate potential.

Resene testpots were perfect for this piece, for their durability and range of colours.

The day of the installation, rock after rock the Koru grew, families arrived with their creations, and children danced and swung around the post, weaving in and out of the painted offerings.

Rhythm n Rocks
Rhythm n Rocks

Artist: Keli Jarvis
Council: Palmerston North City Council
Palmy Rocks pioneer: Heather Knox


Resene Total Colour Awards gallery

The Resene Total Colour Awards celebrate and encourage creative use of colour. For colour and decorating inspiration, browse through the hundreds of projects submitted: | View gallery |

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018

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