Pounamu is the traditional name for greenstone in New Zealand. It is an important part of Māori tradition and hugely significant within the greater cultural identity of Aotearoa.
Pounamu has a diverse range of colours with a myriad of variations in colour and pattern combination. The strong spiritual connection Māori have with pounamu is reflected in the way the various stone types were named with each pounamu type being given an identity that corresponded to the world Māori lived in. The stone was named after native birds, fish and plants. Others are linked to pakiwaitara or storytelling and others linked to specific locations.
Endless combinations of pounamu types occur, ranging from the yellow/orange enriched tones of flower jade to the rich green and white tinted snowflake jade. No two pieces of pounamu are the same, guaranteeing every carving is unique to you and your loved ones.
The lightest and most translucent of the stones. Kahurangi (precious or prized possession) is highly treasured.
Distinguished by a reddish-brown tint. Named after the native bird, weka, which is a protected species.
Has striking yellow and orange tones that blend throughout the greens. Named after a native tree, which has a yellow tinge to its leaves.
Diverse and characterful, with reddish-brown to blue tones, and a speckled, mottled texture. Named after a protected native trout species.
The strongest and darkest of the stones. A black fleck can occur, greatly enhancing its character. Named after a native plant, used for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Has distinctive blue, grey and silver tones that transcend the greens. Named after the native fish, whitebait, which is a local delicacy.
The richest, most unique and intense of the greens. Further enhanced by yellow, gold and orange/cream colourings.