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Topic: Pounamu - An iconic stone

Is part of topic Kura Pounamu Exhibition

Pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) is a treasured stone for Māori and all New Zealanders. It is valued for its beauty, strength, and durability, and there are many stories of its origins.

There are two systems for classifying pounamu. Geologically, the name pounamu refers to three different types of stone: nephrite, bowenite, and serpentinite. Māori classify pounamu by appearance.

Pounamu is found only in the South Island of New Zealand, Te Wai Pounamu (the greenstone waters). It begins its journey in the rock where it is formed, then is slowly ‘freed’ by erosion. Most pounamu settles in riverbeds, and some is carried out to sea and scattered along the coast.

The taonga (treasures) in this exhibition were from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

He kōhatu ahurei

Ko te pounamu tētahi kura e kaingākautia ana e te iwi Māori, otirā e ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa. I noho ai te pounamu hei kahurangi, he kōhatu ātaahua, e mōhiotia ana tōna kaha me tōna mārō, ā, he maha ngā pūrākau mō tōna takenga mai.

E rua ngā tikanga wehewehe i te pounamu. E ai ki ngā pūtaiao-ā-nuku, hei ingoa te pounamu mō ngā momo kōhatu e toru, he rerekē katoa: ko te nephrite, ko te bowenite, me te serpentinite. Ko tā te Māori wehewehe i te pounamu, kei te āhuatanga o te kōhatu.

Heoi anō nei te wāhi e kitea ai te pounamu i Aotearoa, ko Te Wai Pounamu. Ka tīmata mai tōna heke i ngā kōhatu i hangaia mai ai, mā te horo whenua e ‘āta whakaputa’ te pounamu. Ka tau te nuinga o te pounamu ki ngā kūkūpango o ngā awa, ko ētahi anō kawea atu ai ki te moana ū rawa mai ki te takutai.

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