Carved to connect. Special bonds and demystifying the gifting of pounamu.
03 Mar 2020

Carved to connect. Special bonds and demystifying the gifting of pounamu.

Pounamu in hand, gently and respectfully cupped by a lady who tilts her wrist, adjusting her hold to reveal the individual beauty of the piece. The dark and light hues playfully combine, revealing unique patterns and shades designed by nature, that draw the eye deep into the origins of the stone. As if into its soul.

"I'll have to find someone to buy it for me. Because you can't buy pounamu for yourself..."

Holding her gaze, as if toward an artist's canvas, she is drawn to the considered outline of the design and expert shaping that surrendered itself to the grain. There is an almost inevitability to the final form this taonga (treasure) would take, made complete by the deeply respectful perception of the artist and execution of his skilled hands. A work of art made possible by reverence, love, patience and millions of years. A piece of New Zealand. Carved to connect.

Standing quietly, honouring the stone and captivated by its beauty, there is a regretful curl of the lips, an exhale, and the piece is surrendered...

But does it need to be this way? 




Can you buy pounamu for yourself?

"Actually" says James Pirika, one of our Rotorua carvers of Maori heritage, "The idea of gifting doesn't necessarily mean you are gifting it to someone now. But more, that the intention is to gift it one day."

When you wear pounamu, it is said that something of you (your mauri or lifeforce) transfers to the stone, and something of the stone transfers to you - that you become as one. So when a wearer passes that piece on to someone else, after many years of wear, they are in fact passing on a piece of themselves - the gift becomes amplified.

Many years ago, when traditional time-consuming methods would have been used to carve, it might have taken a year or more to produce a greenstone taonga. Pieces were therefore highly regarded, becoming heirlooms that were passed down (or gifted) from generation to generation. This is where much of the modern interpretation comes from.

Traditional pounamu mere

In the same way, that today, one might buy a piece of pounamu for themselves with the intention of it being passing on (or gifted) to a loved one - such as a child or friend - at a later date.

The piece begins a journey with the one who it called, and carries that person's mauri with it into a new future with another, as a gift. As it will again be gifted at the end of that cycle. The living stone.

At the heart of gifting, we believe pounamu connects people. Whether that's... 

1. Carving lifelong connections

Carving lifelong connections

2. Celebrating a journey shared

Celebrating a journey shared

3. Or carving memories

Carving memories with friends


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