We're Opening at Auckland Airport
21 Nov 2017

We're Opening at Auckland Airport

We are excited to announce the new Mountain Jade store, that is opening at Auckland Airport! Our store will be opened to the public from the 1st of December in the international departures area.

As our managing director and second generation of the family, John Sheehan aptly states how humbled and excited we are to be part of the impressive new development at Auckland Airport. Our flagship store will provide an opportunity to showcase jade and pounamu artists and craftspeople to the 10 million visitors passing through the airport each year.

We currently collaborate with more than 20 jade artists and craftspeople, and they produce truly excellent work, ranging from jade jewellery and small carved items to higher-end art which is becoming increasingly popular.

There’s some amazing emerging talent in New Zealand and we’re keen to help build their profile and have them come along on this journey of discovery with us. It’s a great opportunity for them to earn a good income and have their work in front of a really wide audience.

Close friend and artist Lewis Gardiner (of Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui and Ngāi Tahu descent) agrees that the opening of the flagship store is great news for those working in the industry.

Mr Gardiner, says New Zealanders can be guilty of associating jade and pounamu simply with the tourist market. The new store will be a sophisticated and educational space that will help revive the mana of pounamu and of the carvers and artists who work with the stone, he says. “I hope it does really well, because everybody will benefit.”

We agree, as seeing the Auckland Airport store as offering a unique approach to showcasing artists, while providing a window into the jade-carving world. Our artists will now have huge exposure to a wide range of international travellers, many of whom seek either a carved piece to remind them of New Zealand, or a high-end and unique piece of art. This new store will be a gallery for these top works and they’ll be viewed by many thousands of people each day – that’s a whole new market we can provide for these talented artists and craftspeople.

Our store will feature collaborations with contemporary artists and jewellers as well as hosting digital, audio and touchscreen experiences for visitors. We hope to roll this out to our other stores in Hokitika and Rotorua in the next 3-4 years, providing an innovative and educational space in all.

John Sheehan Jnr
Airport Art: Mountain Jade Managing Director John Sheehan Jnr with a piece of work destined for the new Auckland Airport store. The work is “Roimata” by Rotorua’s Tamaora Walker.

Our approach has always been to educate people about New Zealand pounamu and international jade cultures as well. Staff in our stores play a big role in this, but this new store will also be interactive, providing people with more understanding of the stone.

It's estimated that up to 70% of items in the new store will be carved from pounamu, but international jade also has a role to play. We are an international jade specialist and we have carvers and artists that we either employ or collaborate with who are providing carved items for us from all around the world.

We believe imported carved items also have their place, and as part of being transparent and focusing on education, staff explain the origins of pieces in the stores. We believe that having this balance also helps preserve the precious resource in New Zealand, so that we can conserve pounamu for the best possible use.

Established 1980s by John Sheehan Snr, we have employed nearly 20 additional staff for the new airport store, to add to the more than 70 staff we already have as apart of our wider Mountain Jade family.

The opening of this major new store is an important milestone for us. We’re very pleased to be bringing more people into the Mountain Jade family through our carvers and artists, and also through our employees who will be sharing the jade story with so many travellers.

If you can't make it to our new store, or any of our other stores, you can still shop a wide range of our pieces online here.

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