Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

25-tonne rock that crashed into Chch house heads to new home

Photo / supplied
Photo / supplied

A 25-tonne rock that landed in the hallway of a Christchurch house during the February 2011 earthquake is heading home to the Mt Hutt ski area.

Phil Johnson named his unwelcome guest Rocky after it was dislodged, bounced down Morgan's Valley and destroyed his house after crashing through the garage.

The boulder was listed on the auction website Trade Me in an effort to raise earthquake relief funds and bring some fun into the lives of stressed Cantabrians.

The winning bid went to NZSki, which trumped up $50,000 for the massive rock.

Now, two years later, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has confirmed that Rocky can be removed from Mr Johnson's property on Thursday.

Contracting company SICON Ltd has been charged with getting Rocky on the move and taking him on a two-day trip to Mt Hutt, overnighting in Methven.

SICON spokesman Dave Wilson said preparation for the move and demolition of Mr Johnson's former home had been extensive, as well as additional safety plans to deal with the possibility of rockfall during the demolition.

"There's been a lot of speculation about how heavy Rocky is," Mr Wilson said.

"The crane we're using is a 50-tonne crane and we're estimating he's between 15 and 25 tonne.

"Rocky is Basalt rock which usually has a high density as it's volcanic and has been created under pressure. The only rock that has a higher density is a meteor."

Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie said word that Rocky was on the move had already re-ignited the rock's Facebook page and his 3000 fans.

"We're anticipating a fair few people will turn out to see him on his long-awaited road trip and maybe even join us for a beer at the Blue Pub in Methven where $1 from each handle sold will go to the Red Cross," he said.

Weather and road conditions permitting, Rocky will head to his final resting place on the snow at Mt Hutt near the base building on Friday.

- APNZ

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