Frequently Asked Questions About Pounamu

Frequently Asked Questions About Pounamu

Want to know more about our Pounamu carvings? Then you have come to the right place. Here we have collated many of the frequently asked questions we receive on a daily basis.

Do you carve your own Pounamu?
  • Yes, we carve all our Pounamu ourselves in our Creative Studio.
Do you bind / tie all the Pounamu yourselves?
  • Yes, all the binding is done by us too & all is hand bound.
Is all your Pounamu from New Zealand in?
  • All our Pounamu originates from the South Island of New Zealand & we can gift you the story behind each stone & its journey.
Do your create commissioned carvings?
  • We can create commission pieces, so if you have an idea, allow us to bring it to life for you. If this speaks to you, send us an enquiry with your request on our contact page.
What is the difference between Pounamu & Greenstone?
  • Pounamu is the name for specific Greenstones that can only be discovered exclusively in New Zealand. Various varieties of Greenstone can be discovered all over the world.
What does Pounamu mean?
  • Pounamu is the traditional Māori term & Greenstone is the English translation. However, not all stones that fall under this classification / group of stones are green - Marsden Flower Jade for example.
What do the different styles of carvings mean?
  • Manaia, Hei Toki, Roimata, Hei Matau, Breastplate, Pikorua Twist & Manawa are all examples of different carvings & these are just a few of the styles we create. Each has a different representation. Here is a brief overview of each:
The head of a bird represents a messenger to the spirits in the afterlife, the body of a human represents our human experience on this earth & a tail of a fish is a symbolism of abundance & prosperity.

Hei Toki
A Hei Toki is a symbol of strength, determination & courage & it will help the wearer move through periods of uncertainty.

A Roimata resembles a drop of life, reminding the wearer that they are not alone. It will connect them deeper to their ancestors & the visions of their future generations, which will be guided by their footsteps & present actions.

Hei Matau
The Hei Matau (hook) represents strength, prosperity, good luck & safe travels over water. The wearer is seen as a provider & protector who is strong-willed & determined to succeed in life.

A Breastplate gifts the wearer strength & offers protection throughout their life. It will encourage them to move through life’s cycles with grace & confidence. Making the most of each moment & every opportunity.

Pikorua Twist
A Pikorua Twist resembles an entanglement which has no beginning or end, this refers to an eternal bond between two souls. Hence the description of Pikorua as “The path of love & life”.

A Manawa (heart) is a symbol of love, friendship, unity, cohesion & togetherness. It also represents emotional balance, generosity & compassion.
  • We gift the detail & meaning behind each one in the description of the carving in our online store & in person at our Mineral Gallery. Plus, each Pounamu purchased from us travels with its own handwritten description detailing every significance of the stone, so the recipient can keep it safe with their taonga (treasure).
Can I buy Pounamu for myself?
  • Pounamu carvings were traditionally used in ceremonies & traded as it was highly valued as an effective tool (an adze for example). Pounamu has always been regarded as a great taonga & is now mainly worn as 'jewellery' as the tools that pounamu was previously used to create, have now been modernized. Ancient pounamu carvings (tools & sacred heirlooms) are now being passed down through generations & are rich with history & significance. Historically, Pounamu wasn't carved to be worn. It was passed over as a sign of gratitude & hospitality between people. In modern times it now has an added significance as it enhances people's connection to Aotearoa (New Zealand) & it is a way they celebrate the land & the people they love here. Buying Pounamu for yourself all comes down to your personal beliefs, honouring your connection to Māori culture & tikanga (customs & traditional values) of the past & the present. You know who you are, what calls to you & how it calls to you, trust your intuition. Pounamu calls to you for a reason, you admire its significance, beauty & history. You are allowed desire a taonga of your own, your own sacred treasure of New Zealand. Honour your personal beliefs & your connection to the Māori culture & allow the perfect stone to discover you. Whether you discover it, or someone discovers it for you, your taonga will take on your wairua (spirit) & enhance your mana (energy). Your Pounamu will forever be a symbol of your connection to our beautiful land & one day may be a sacred treasure you hand down to your future generations.
Does Pounamu need to be blessed?
  • Pounamu is a sacred part of Māori culture & is highly significant to the history of Aotearoa. Within the Māori culture, it is customary to bless Pounamu before it is worn. If you desire to bless your Pounamu we recommend doing so with your whānau (family / community). If you choose whether or not to bless your Pounamu, it is solely up to you. Again, it comes down to your personal beliefs & how you honour your connection to the Māori culture.
I'd like to know more about Pounamu…
  • Great, we look forward to answering all your questions! Simply email us here (, or visit us in person at our Mineral Gallery in Kerikeri. We look forward to connecting & sharing our knowledge of Pounamu & its significance to Aotearoa with you.

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