My Pounamu – Patsy Perenara-O’Connell

Patsy Perenara-O'Connell

Patsy Perenara-O’Connell

Patsy Perenara-O’Connell (Te Arawa, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāti Pukenga), was born and raised in Taranaki (Waverley) and has lived in Christchurch for the last sixteen years. She is the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and has been with the organization for 11 years. She talks here, about her favourite piece of pounamu.

My husband (David) gave me this beautiful taonga for our fifth wedding anniversary in 2011. This was blessed and named ‘Puhi Raki’ by Puamiria Parata-Goodall. ‘Puhi Raki’ links to my Taranaki whakapapa.
• Puhi – to adorn with feathers or a bunch of feathers: refers to my raukura – a plume of albatross feathers that we wear in our hair.
• Raki – North: self explanatory, but of course I hail from the North Island

Puhi Raki is my Kaitiaki, I wear this every time I travel afar, especially when flying. I do karakia whilst holding my hei tiki before takeoff, this is because I’m actually afraid of flying (but I will fly as I don’t’ want to be left behind) and because it’s my interpretation of a practice that we do back home in Taranaki.

Most, if not all Māori from this area, call into a small church (on the Nukumaru straight) called Tūtahi. This is to give thanks to those who guide and protect us on our travels. My koko told me that it is believed that soldiers from WWI/II who stopped there before leaving the country all returned home. Puhi Raki will never replace our church, but it is the next best thing for a girl living away from home.

Patsy 2 smallThis taonga will remain in our whānau for our children and moko and hopefully remind them of their Ngā Rauru whakapapa and the tradition that we still do to this day.

New Carvings

Here’s a selection of new carvings fresh from Waewae Pounamu

waewae 4

waewae 5

waewae 1

waewae 3

waewae 2

British archery champion wears pounamu

Danielle Brown (left) and Karen Moffatt-McLeod

Danielle Brown (left) and Karen Moffatt-McLeod

When British archery champion Danielle Brown MBE presented the Champion of Champions Trophy at the New Zealand National Archery Championships in Whitianga in early January, she had no idea she was about to be presented with a piece of authenticated Ngāi Tahu Pounamu.

Dani, who is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist and three-time World Champion archer, was in New Zealand competing in the championships, where she won both the target champs and the match-play championships. The event was attended by 150 archers from ten countries.

Tournament organizer, Karen Moffatt-McLeod presented Dani with a specially-commissioned pounamu kōwhai carved by authenticated Ngāi Tahu Pounamu carver Paul Graham. The piece is carved in kawakawa stone and Dani was delighted and overwhelmed by the gift. She plans to wear it at the European Archery Festival, which is running in the United Kingdom this weekend.

Iwi / miners deal targets black market pounamu

Over 3-tonnes of pounamu by-product has already been returned.

Over 3-tonnes of pounamu by-product has already been returned.

An agreement signed between Poutini Ngāi Tahu and the West Coast mining industry should spell the end of the pounamu black market and bring mana back to the stone.
The agreement was reached between the two West Coast rūnanga, Makaawhio and Ngāti Waewae and all future mining permits issued by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals will feature a caveat obliging miners to sell pounamu by-product to Ngāi Tahu.
Waewae Pounamu general Manager, Francois Tumahai has been working for two-and-a-half years to finalise the agreement, which will see miners who pass in pounamu by-product rewarded with a payment of 50% of the agreed value of the stone. He has been pleased with the response from miners to date and says over 3-tonne of pounamu by-product has been brought in to Waewae Pounamu in the last six months.

“We’re pleased with that result for the first six months. It’s come from Rimu, just south of Hokitika to Marsden, just south of Greymouth and has included a range of different stones. The  largest piece, a 1.5-tonne kawakawa boulder from the top of the Taramakau River, was a brought in from Kūmara,” Francois says. He adds that 19 miners have signed up to the agreement and five of those have already delivered stone. ”
Eventually, we hope to get to the point where it won’t be worth people selling on the black market and we can supply the pounamu market for a really good price. It’s all about protecting the resource and giving mana back to the stone and the iwi.”

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Ngāi Tahu Pounamu for Winter Olympics

Te Taumata o Angitu - The Pinnacle of Success

Te Taumata o Angitu – The Pinnacle of Success

Sixty-eight pounamu medallions were presented to Peter Wardell, Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Winter Olympics team at Waewae Pounamu in Hokitika last week.

The medallions will be presented to individual athletes attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia from February 7-23.
Waewae Pounamu general manager, Francois Tumahai presented the medallions to Olympics representatives at a mihi whakatau and blessing held at Waewae Pounamu in Hokitika.

The sixty-eight pieces were created by fulltime Waewae Pounamu carvers Pierre Tumahai, Julie Nicholl and Anthony Coakley and have been named Te Taumata o Angitu – The Pinnacle of Success. The design incorporates a myriad of traditional and contemporary  narratives woven together to reflect the spirit of the 2014 Winter Olympics team.

The base design reflects Aotearoa New Zealand’s highest point, Aoraki/Mount Cook, symbolizing where the athletes are from, who they represent and the magnitude of the challenge ahead. The stone chosen for the pendants – pounamu – reinforces attributes of strength, power and perseverance within the wearer. The orientation of the pendant, leading downwards to a point, reflects a traditional formation for meeting challenges. The notches on the edge of the design reflect the traditional niho taniwha design and the arduous route to success from the base of the mountain to the peak. Complementing the carving design is the bound cord, representing team cohesion as a core component of success.

Olympic representatives attending the event were delighted to have the chance to interact with the carvers and to learn more about the pendants and the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme.

Every Olympian for a decade has worn a pounamu pendant and in 2004 Ngāi Tahu, gifted a pounamu touchstone, or Mauri Stone, to the New Zealand Olympic Team. This touchstone accompanies the team to every Olympic Games and is a source of inspiration and pride. And in 2012, Ngāi Tahu Pounamu  was used for the 350 tahutahi/snowflake pendants carved by Jeff Mahuika (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Waewae, Ngāti Mahaki; Rangitane) of Hokitika, for the London Olympic team. It was the first time the rare tahutahi stone had been legally used.


Lost Taonga

Rewi Couch from Rāpaki with the greywacke taonga.

Rewi Couch from Rāpaki with the greywacke taonga.

On the 17 September the New Zealand Historic Places Trust attended an important hui at Rāpaki Marae.

The hui was held due to the loss of a toki – a taonga tūturu – found during demolition at the Norwich Quay Post Office in Lyttelton in October 2011. This was the first recorded archaeological evidence of Māori occupation in Lyttelton but unfortunately the toki was also the first ever recorded taonga tuturu to be lost.

The taonga, known as the Ohinehou toki, was in the temporary care of the contract archaeologists while waiting to be exhibited at the Quake City exhibition when it opened in March. It was to be exhibited alongside the tekoteko from Kaiapohia Pā, as a tangible acknowledgement of the Kāi Tahu experience, following the earthquakes.
It was noticed missing from the contract archaeologist’s storage facility just prior to it being transferred to the Quake City exhibition.

Attending the hui were Ministry of Culture and Heritage advisors, Honiana Love and Basil Keane, NZHPT Southern Regional Archaeologist, Frank van der Heijden and Pouarahi Huia Pacey, who confirmed to Ngāti Wheke members, that a taonga tuturu had never been lost before, as both organisations relied on the professional care and attention from temporary custodians to safeguard taonga. Neither organisation had processes or protocols to deal with an event of this kind.

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Pounamu in a Basket

West Coast stones

West Coast stones

Small stones

From a West Coast beach

Glowing green

Mystery Pounamu

Mystery Pounamu

Mystery Pounamu

This large piece of pounamu was left in the playground of a Christchurch school last week.

Attached was a note telling whoever found it, that the stone was the property of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The stone was thereafter, returned to the Ngāi Tahu offices but we know nothing of its origins.

Well-Travelled Carvings


Pounamu for New York.

Twelve pieces of Ngāi Tahu Pounamu carved by Te Waipounamu Māori Heritage Centre in Hokitika, were recently showcased with other luxury New Zealand products at Couture Fashion Week in New York on Saturday 7 September.

Couture Fashion Week is a multi-day event showcasing couture and luxury fashion. The event is staged twice a year in New York and is attended by upscale consumers, invited VIPs, the press and high-end store buyers.  It has been running for 18 years.

The twelve pieces of carved pounamu joined New Zealand merino and leather in RAW, a bespoke collection by New Zealand designers, presented by NZ Hat & Hair Art of Timaru. This year, NZ Hat & Hair  exhibited hats and hair art in the New Yorker Hotel in downtown Manhattan, in addition to staging a catwalk show of its own.

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A New Way Forward

The Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme guarantees genuine New Zealand product.

The Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme guarantees genuine New Zealand product.

The Te Waipounamu Māori Heritage Centre in Hokitika has re-branded and has been re-named Waewae Pounamu.

General Manager of the centre, Francois Tumahai (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Waewae), says the renaming is part of a comprehensive rebranding that has been almost a year in the making.

“It’s all about promoting the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme and creating a flexible entity – a franchise if you like – that can be uplifted and established in other rūnanga who may also like to sell Ngāi Tahu Pounamu,” says Tumahai.

“For example, we might have Ngāi Tahu Pounamu, Ōtakou Pounamu, or Puketeraki Pounamu. We will do all the manufacturing here at Waewae Pounamu and distribute Ngāi Tahu Pounamu product to other rūnanga.”

Working with Jymal Morgan, General Manager, Toitu te Kāinga, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Waewae Pounamu have refitted the existing Hokitika premises with new counters, signage, logos and paintwork. Further innovations, including touch screens embedded in shop counters, will roll out in coming months.

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