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. Each pounamu type was given an identity that corresponded to the world Māori lived in, such as being named after native birds, fish or plants, while others are linked to pakiwaitara (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.
Inanga Pounamu has grey-green, blue, or silver tones and varying degrees of translucency. It is named for the native Inanga fish.
Kōkopu Pounamu is very diverse, with tones of reddish-brown and even blue, with a speckled or mottled texture resulting in a diverse character and appearance. It is named for the native kōkopu trout.
Totoweka Pounamu is deep green with tints and variations of reddish-brown and black adding interest and depth. Named for a protected native flightless bird, the Weka.
Kahurangi Pounamu, meaning 'precious or prized possession', is the lightest and most translucent of the stones. Kahurangi was the most valued stone variety, and was used to carve highly treasured items.
Kawakawa Pounamu is the strongest and darkest of the stones, and in some cases a black fleck occurs bringing a noticeable character. It's named after the native kawakawa plant which was traditionally used for its culinary and medicinal properties.
Raukaraka Pounamu has striking yellow and orange tones that blend throughout the greens. Named after the native Karaka tree which has a yellowish tinge to its leaves and produces orange coloured berries.
Putiputi Pounamu is the richest and most intense of the greens, and is further enhanced by yellow, gold and orange colourings within the stone. It’s often called Flower Jade.