These beautiful and unique carvings are exclusive to YHA New Zealand. The perfect gift or make it your own personal treasure. A tangible and authentic tohu (symbol) of your connection with New Zealand.
These taonga (treasures) embody everything YHA means in a single story - a story of connection. Connection to New Zealand, to the land, to our culture, and between people. This is at the heart of YHA's mission and values and underscores everything we do.
We partnered with Ngai Tahu Pounamu, the guardians of Pounamu, registered carvers of ethically-sourced Pounamu. Your Pounamu comes with a unique authentication code for www.newzealandpounamu.com which shows you the whakapapa (genealogy) of your taonga including where your pounamu came from and the person who carved it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I purchase Pounamu for myself or does it need to be gifted to me?
A: Ultimately this is a matter of personal preference. If you treat your Pounamu as taonga, a sacred gift, you may purchase it for yourself; given this perspective you may wish to consider it a family heirloom to be passed on. You may also wish to have someone else put the carving around your neck for the first time you wear it.
Q: Do I need to get the carving blessed before wearing it?
A: All authentic Ngai Tahu Pounamu is blessed in its raw form on the river beds where it is found. Our Ngai Tahu Pounamu registered carvers bless each taonga and handle it with great care during the carving process. If you would like to add your own blessing you may either find a Kaumatua (elder) to bless it, or find an appropriate karakia (prayer) and bless it yourself.
Q: Is my carving unique?
A: Each piece of Pounamu is unique, so in a word, yes! There are a number of traditional Maori motifs which are commonly found in Pounamu carvings, which is why some designs may look similar to many others. However YHA’s partnership with authentic Ngai Tahu Pounamu registered carvers means these designs were commissioned specifically with our guests and their families in mind, so we can share the experience of being connected with New Zealand and each other, even after your travels have finished.
Q: Where is the stone from?
A: All naturally occurring Pounamu in New Zealand is found in Te Tai Poutini (the West Coast of the South Island) and in parts of the Nelson region.
Q: What significant meaning does each carving have?
A: When you enter the unique authentication code from your Pounamu at newzealandpounamu.com, you’ll find the whakapapa (genealogy) of your taonga, including where your stone was found, the person who carved it. and the unique meaning of your carving. This system is exclusive to authentic Ngai Tahu Pounamu. Carvings commissioned by YHA have additional meaning above and beyond traditional pieces reflecting the collaborative nature of our partnership with our Ngai Tahu Pounamu registered carvers.
Q: How do I care for my carving?
A: It is best not to wear your Pounamu during any excessive physical activity, as it may chip or break if struck against any hard surface. From time to time you may wish to apply a small amount of cooking oil and rub this into the stone to keep its natural gloss; however wearing the stone regularly will allow it to absorb the natural oil from your skin.
Q: Has the stone been mined / harvested ethically?
A: Yes. Through the Ngai Tahu Pounamu authentication system, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has ensured that all stone has been harvested in an environmentally sustainable and culturally sensitive manner.
Q: Where can I find out more about New Zealand Pounamu?
A: Ngai Tahu are the kaitiaki (guardians) of all New Zealand Pounamu and the only source of genuine rawstone. For more details about Pounamu and the authentication systems visit www.newzealandpounamu.com.