The greenstone is also known as nephrite or jade and, in Māori, pounamu. Ngāi Tahu are the kaitiaki of all South Island greenstone, the only known source of authentic New Zealand pounamu.
Renowned for its beauty and strength, the rare pounamu stone is highly valued by both Māori and greater New Zealand. While generically known as greenstone pounamu refers to the particular types of hard nephrite, jade, bowentine or serpertine found in southern New Zealand. No two pieces are the same and every piece is treated with respect during the carving process.
Pounamu is regarded as a taonga by Māori, many of whom have a strong spiritual connection to the stone. They wear it with a sense of pride and they believe it bestows strength upon them. For hundreds of years, it has been imbued with legend and stories; and in many families, treasured pieces have been passed down through several generations.
Authentic Ngāi Tahu Pounamu prominently displays both a mark of authenticity and a unique traceability code.
When entered online this code identifies the origin and whakapapa of the stone. It will describe how it was extracted and processed and tell you who the artist was that carved it. It will explain that the stone has been treated according to the customary respect and carved with every possible care.