Team Mountain Jade | Mountain Jade New Zealand

Hokitika

Mountain Jade

Inside the Mountain Jade workshop, three pounamu carvers call on specialist skills to transform raw stone into carved art.

For this talented trio, growing up in Hokitika has meant immersion in pounamu culture from a young age. After all, their town is the pounamu capital of New Zealand.

Between them, the carvers cut the rock with the grain before it is closely examined or "read" to decide how best to utilise its natural beauty, taking account of any faults or fractures. It is then sliced, marked, trimmed and transformed into pounamu jewellery or sculpture.

Each carver focuses on a particular talent, whether that means specialising in design or honing the skill and patience needed to work with hand tools. One carver has more than 30 years experience 'reading' raw stone and the final polishing work requires careful handling too.

These carvers may have set aside the traditional tools of their ancestors but they continue to utilise generations of knowledge as well as modern technology in their work. 

Working with pounamu remains a remarkably hands on process.