TimaruRocks' symbol of peace thanks those who made New Zealand nuclear free

June 18 2017
Stu Oldham
TIMARU HERALD

Hundreds of coloured rocks were laid on the cool sand of Caroline Bay in a gesture of support for those who continue work for nuclear disarmament. Some 419 rocks were arranged in the shape of a peace symbol to belatedly mark the 30th anniversary of New Zealand becoming nuclear free. The Let's Say Thanks event was organised by TimaruRocks, a group that encourages people to paint and hide rocks, for others to find, around Timaru.

1497756294068Andre Stokes, 8, with rocks to be used in a nuclear free commemoration at Caroline Bay on Saturday.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

One of the organisers, Roselyn Fauth, said the event was a non-political way to thank the people who helped New Zealand take a world-leading stand.

It was also a way to thank those New Zealanders who continued to work to consign nuclear arms to an unpleasant chapter in history.

Top-of-mind was long-time anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Kate Dewes, of Christchurch, who was part of a team negotiating a disarmament treaty at the United Nations.

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TimaruRocks members laid decorated rocks in the shape of a peace symbol to mark the 30th anniversary of New Zealand becoming nuclear free.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ



"It just felt like a good, positive cause that has affected us all. It wasn't a protest, it wasn't political, but it was something for people to become involved with and to talk about."

Many people visited the display after it was laid on Saturday. Fauth said many arrived with stories for their children and grandchildren.

"Hearing people say 'wow' when they discovered the rocks was just part of it. Hearing parents and grandparents talking about what happened was very special."

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Decorated rocks thank campaigners for making New Zealand nuclear free.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

 

Some talked about the French bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, others about nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

A couple from Scotland was so surprised and impressed by the "organic" rocks movement that the vowed to take the idea home, she said.

TimaruRocks has grown to have more than 2500 members on its Facebook page. Those members have hidden hundreds - perhaps thousands - of rocks around Timaru.

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Decorated rocks thank campaigners for making New Zealand nuclear free.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ


Their work is supported by the Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery and the Oxford Cafe, which sponsor "rock boxes" of material to help create more decorated rocks.

Fauth, who is also the Friends' president, said at least 1000 Timaru school students have created their own rocks using the boxes.

"A lot of young people, and a lot of older people, have become involved and it keeps on growing.

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Members of TimaruRocks made a peace symbol from decorated rocks to mark the 30th anniversary of New Zealand becoming nuclear free.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

 

"In a world where we are so used to taking and collecting, it is about looking, being curious and leaving surprises."

There are similar groups in Waimate, Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point and Oamaru, she said.

- Stuff