Pounamu can still be found in the Arahura River. Ngāi Tahu people made a special expedition there to obtain this stone, now held at Te Papa, the national museum. Called Tongarewa, it is the spiritual kaitiaki (guardian) of the museum, and protects its mauri (life force). Visitors are encouraged to stroke the stone, gradually wearing away the rough outer layers to reveal the green colours beneath.
Using this item
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.