Pounamu is the traditional Māori name for greenstone from Aotearoa New Zealand. Māori have a strong spiritual connection with Pounamu, personifying it by giving each unique type an identity that corresponded with the world around them. Māori were descriptive, naming Pounamu after native birds, fish, and plants, and linking others to pakiwaitara (storytelling), and location.
Below are some of the stone types you are likely to see:
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.