The Rocky road trip is on -- after two years of uninvited residence in a Heathcote Valley home, ‘Rocky’ has today (Thursday May 30) embarked on the first leg of his journey ‘home’ to Mt Hutt under the watchful eye of new owners NZSki.
After a three-hour operation to partially demolish the house to reach him, bystanders clapped and cheered as Rocky finally saw the light of day.
Officially weighing in at 15 tonnes, Rocky was loaded onto a truck to start a two day ‘Rocky road trip’ through Christchurch, out to Methven and finally up to Mt Hutt ski area.
Rocky gained national media attention in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes after crashing into the home of Phil Johnson. Mr Johnson auctioned Rocky on Trade Me to raise earthquake relief funds, along the way amassing 3,000 Facebook followers, many of whom came today to witness the dislodging, craning and transportation of the volcanic basalt rock.
NZSki bought Rocky for $50,000, which was donated to the Red Cross earthquake appeal, and have been waiting for two years for the all-clear from CERA to take Rocky to his new mountain home at Mt Hutt.
Rocky is scheduled to stop off for a beer tonight, in the tradition of all great road trips, at the iconic Blue Pub in Methven. A dollar from each handle sold will be donated to the Red Cross, and limited edition numbered copies of a book recounting Rocky’s most famous Facebook ‘sayings’ and special commemorative T-shirts will also be on sale, with all those proceeds also going to the Red Cross.
Weather and road conditions permitting, he’ll head to his final resting place on the snow at Mt Hutt near the base building tomorrow (Friday May 31).