Christchurch earthquake throws up rock star

WELLINGTON, March 3, 2011 (AFP) - A 25-tonne rock has emerged as a star of the Christchurch earthquake, gaining a name, a personality and a value, as well as becoming a symbol of the devastation the quake wreaked.

"Rocky" the giant boulder, which destroyed Phil Johnson's hillside home nine days ago and remains firmly embedded in the ruins, has been listed on an online auction website and even has its own Facebook page.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key walks to survey earthquake damage in the Christchurch suburb of Bexley on March 4, 2011. AFP

The auction is due to end on Monday, and by late Thursday bidding had reached NZ$7,000 (US$5,200).

"For sale, 1 owner, 25-30 tonne landscape feature (answers to the name Rocky)," reads the listing on the www.trademe.co.nz website.

"He is in pristine condition (just a little bit of concrete dust). Suitable for garden feature, or as in our case, a magnificent addition to your living area... Rocky will enhance your 'indoor outdoor' flow considerably".

Johnson said all proceeds from the sale will go a relief fund to help those affected by the 6.3 magnitude quake, which killed at least 161 people and left large areas of Christchurch in ruins.

The auction has received 56 bids and many more enquiries and comments.

"Look, I'm in the market for such a rock, but I'm concerned about how house-trained your one is. Clearly it's been digging holes in your back yard. Has it had recent obedience training?" posted georges21

"What is your reason for selling? Are you upgrading or just ready for a change?" asked goodsman1.

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