About us

Ko Tūhua te maunga
Ko Arahura te awa
Ko Tairea te waka
Ko Arahura te marae
Ko Tūhuru te whare tīpuna
Ko Poutini Ngāi Tahu te iwi
Ko Ngāti Waewae te hapū

We are one of two local hapū (sub-tribes) on the West Coast of the South island.
We are the kaitiaki (guardians) of our precious taonga, Pounamu.
Our hapū owned business "Waewae Pounamu" lies within the heart of the "Greenstone Isle" – Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand.

In the iconic West Coast town of Hokitika, you’ll find our busy retail store. Here we display New Zealand’s largest range of 100% Authentic Waewae Pounamu carvings sourced from the rivers of the West Coast. 

The Kaitiaki (Guardian)

In 1997 the New Zealand Government returned the rights of greenstone ownership to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the iwi’s elected tribal council. (It is important to note here, that greenstone is also known as nephrite or jade and, in Maori, pounamu).

Ngāi Tahu are therefore the kaitiaki of all South Island greenstone, the only known source of authentic New Zealand pounamu. This was a huge moment both for the tribe and for the greater identity of New Zealand.   

The importance of the stone to the greater identity of Maori cannot be undervalued. Along with rights to pounamu came the key responsibility of ensuring pounamu can be sustainably managed. This means not just caring for the stone but also protecting and advocating for the rivers it comes from, the artists that shape it and the communities that surround it.

Guidance for permit holders and applicants in Pounamu Management Areas can be found here.

Visit the Ngāi Tahu website for more information