The Story behind our beautiful NZ Pounamu

When Māori first arrived in New Zealand they discovered pounamu (NZ Jade) and used this extremely hard green stone to make weapons, tools and jewellery. It became a prized possession of Ngāi Tahu.

Pounamu means green stone – and this became another name for this resource.

Pounamu is found throughout the South Island (which is known to Māori as Te Wai Pounamu) with the main deposits coming from the West Coast.

To Māori, Pounamu is considered a taonga or treasure and today all Pounamu found in the natural environment is owned by Ngāi Tahu.

Pounamu can be hand carved into a wide range of jewellery, sculptures and ornaments.

Westland Greenstone
Established in 1962 Westland Greenstone is one of the leading pounamu carving and manufacturing companies working in the NZ tourism industry. The company is based in Hokitika and employs a team of skilled carvers

to produce a wide range of jewellery and accessories. These are sold in our Hokitika retail shop and in other outlets which the company owns throughout the South Island.

Westland Greenstone has always specialised in carving genuine NZ pounamu.

The traditional pounamu designs made at Westland Greenstone include:

Pounamu Hook


According to Māori mythology a fish hook (or matau) made from whalebone was used to haul up the North Island of NZ.

The hook represents strength, determination and leadership. It brings peace, prosperity and good luck to the wearer.

Pounamu Koru


The koru is inspired by the traditional symbols of growth and life. It is based on a new fern shoot as it unfurls.

Wearers of a koru will experience peace, personal growth and new beginnings.

Pounamu Manaia


The word manaia means mana – or prestige and power. It is traditionally depicted with the head of a bird, body of a man and tail of a fish which represent the sky, earth and sea.

A manaia protects its wearer from evil.

Pounamu Toki


The toki was a chisel type tool used by the Māori to carve their great canoes and meeting houses. The toki was worn by Māori elders as a symbol of courage, power, and authority.

People who wear a toki will gain strength and determination from it.

Pounamu Twist


The twist is based on the kumara (a type of sweet potato) which was a traditional food source for Māori.

A carved twist symbolises the potato and the vine and represents a bond or friendship between two people.