Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, kupu of the day: pounamu

Kia ora tātou! Day three (toru) of our exploration of maker-related vocabulary for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, and we’re back with a noun again:



1. (stative) be dark green.
2. (noun) greenstone, nephrite, jade.
3. (noun) glass bottle – named because early bottles were green like greenstone.
(Definition courtesy of Te Aka Māori-English, English-Māori Dictionary.)

Pounamu has long been valued for tools because of its hardness, and for adornment because of its beautiful range of greens, from light and mossy to greens so deep they can seem black. It also has spiritual significance and has been used by Māori to denote status and authority, as well as for making peace. Found only in the South Island, pounamu in its natural state belongs to Ngāi Tahu.

Several of our makers are inspired by pounamu in their creative work – here’s a sample of their beautiful uses of this lovely stone.

Ka pai! Keep checking in this week for more maker-related kupu and beautiful handmade taonga. Ka kite anō!


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