An exhibition of more than 200 pounamu greenstone treasures, Kura Pounamu tells the story of this most precious of stones, its significance to Māori, and its enduring value from ancient times until today.
Outstanding examples of traditional toki (tools), hei tiki (pendants in human form), and mere (weapons) form the majority of the exhibition, many very rare, with some of the oldest thought to originate from early settlement times, around 700-800 years ago.
Four large pounamu touchstones complete the collection – the largest of which, “Te Hurika”, weighs 170kg.
Created by Te Papa working closely with Ngāi Tahu and other iwi, the exhibition has been appreciated by visitors in their hundreds of thousands locally and overseas. Its arrival in Nelson sees the return of contemporary works created by celebrated artist Fayne Robinson who connects to local Te Tauihu iwi, as well as loaned treasures from Richard Nunns and Nelson College. Some of the taonga have a connection to local places such as Cobb River, D’Urville Island and Port Underwood.
Found only in the South Island of New Zealand, Kura Pounamu: Our Treasured Stone reaffirms the ancient links pounamu has with Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island).
An exhibition presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
The exhibition is open from 24 August to 24 November 2019 at the Nelson Provincial Museum, 270 Trafalgar Street, Nelson.
Free of charge for Nelson Tasman residents and open daily from 10 am. Suitable for all ages.