Waewae Pounamu is proud to be part of the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu authentication system. The importance of this programme to our culture and our country cannot be underestimated.
Pounamu is treasured throughout New Zealand for its strength and beauty. It has been used to make weapons, tools and adornments for hundreds of years. Regarded as having mauri (significant life force), mana (status), and to be tapu (sacred), the value of Pounamu goes far beyond mere economic measure.
The strong spiritual connection many feel with the stone is undeniable. Authentic Pounamu links the wearer to the river in which it was found, the shape into which it is reformed and the identity this shape and stone come to represent. The carver is accountable to both the wider culture and the eventual wearer in how they source the raw stone and shape its form.
Not is all as it seems in the marketplace of New Zealand ‘greenstone’ however – considerable quantities of greenstone sold here is carved either from stolen or imported stone. That does not stop unethical companies selling products that are marketed to give the impression it is genuine New Zealand Greenstone.
In order to protect Pounamu in a sustainable and responsible way for future generations, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu have developed an authentication system to certify products made from genuine New Zealand Greenstone. Similar systems are commonly used throughout the world in industries such as diamonds, wool and organic foods.
All authenticated Ngāi Tahu Pounamu carry a unique traceability code that identifies the origin and whakapapa (genealogy) of the raw stone, how it was extracted and processed and who the artist was that carved it. This is the only way the buyer of the stone knows it has been obtained legitimately and carved responsibly.
Each of our local artisans is licensed by the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu authentication scheme. This is the only programme in the world that provides legitimate, New Zealand-sourced greenstone to carvers.
Our membership in this programmes means all Waewae Pounamu pieces carry a unique traceability barcode. When entered online this code identifies the origin and history of the carving, the system guaranteeing the stone was obtained by rightful means and treated with appropriate cultural care.
Go to Ngāi Tahu Pounamu to trace your piece.