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Kahurangi is the rarest variety of pounamu. It is highly translucent and often comes in vivid shades of green.
Kahurangi is named after the clearness of the sky. Small, feather-like markings in the stone can give a cloud effect – although in order to be classed as kahurangi, this effect must not reduce the stone’s clarity. The word kahurangi also indicates nobility and refers to precious jewels.
Kahurangi pounamu is particularly esteemed by Maori. In the past, it was the preferred variety of stone for the blades of toki poutangata (ceremonial adzes) owned by rangatira (chiefs).
Map of New Zealand's pounamu source areas.