Pounamu. Or greenstone, as the Kiwis say. Some of it is jade of various forms and colors, some of it is serpentine. To them, it is all the same. It is the stone that holds sacred power of the native Maori peoples.
Greenstone is found primarily on the West Coast of the South Island – primarily in Hokitika. Walking the streets of Hoki, you will find carving shop after carving shop. Carving is an art that historically only men take on, while women weave the flax baskets and outfits. Ironically, you won’t find too many Maori descendants on the South Island, as they were pushed North by the Europeans. Still, the tradition and power of jade lives strong in the Kiwi iwi (Maori tribes) and among New Zealanders as a whole.
I’ve heard many lore around the greenstone in my travels, some of it very contradicting. What my partner and I can best discern is that from region to region, tradition varies. Much like the story of Noah’s arch and the Great Flood is in every religion but differs with it’s heroes and lessons from above.
In Hokitika, you are not to take pounamu from the rivers or lakes, as they belong to the iwi. Technically, if you bring a greenstone you found to a carving shop, they can take the greenstone from you and sell it back to you if you wish to keep it. Here you can bless your stone in the waters of the Tasman Sea, and this is a valid blessing. One must not buy their stone here – it can only be gifted.
In Tongariro, you can only have your stone blessed by a Maori chief. Your stone must be new and only yours. A gifted stone is a cursed stone, as the stone carries the energy of those who’ve owned it before you. I worked with someone who was gifted pounamu and she swears it has passed onto her cursed energy and malevolent ghosts.
To steal someone’s greenstone anywhere is VERY bad ju ju. The thief will be cursed for life. No one wants that.
The power of the greenstone is grand, and to posses one is a gift. Protect it.