Story: Pounamu – jade or greenstone



This toki pounamu (adze) is believed to be at least five centuries old, and it would have been owned by an important chief. Europeans arriving in the 19th century encountered trading of pounamu throughout the North and South islands. In traditions, the first trading route for pounamu started when a woman named Raureka, of the Ngāti Wairangi tribe, brought a toki pounamu from the West Coast of the South Island to the east coast, making the Ngāi Tahu people aware of a route to this valuable resource.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: B.018472

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Pounamu – jade or greenstone - Ngāi Tahu and pounamu', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 February 2024)

Story by Basil Keane, published 12 Jun 2006