A growing backlog of pounamu (greenstone) dust and shavings at pounamu carving workshops could find new life as 3D printed or injection-moulded jewellery and waka huia (treasure boxes), or as a strategic additive for composite materials such as concrete or packaging materials.
When pounamu (greenstone) is carved, it generates a lot of fine particle dust and waste material. Māori tradition emphasises the use of every part of a resource, and so, Ngāti Waewae’s been storing the carved pounamu leftovers against the day that novel applications for it could be found.
NZIMMR with support from MBIE’s Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund will work with the West Coast/Tai Poutini hapū to repurpose pounamu carving waste. Additionally, this research aims to develop the capabilities of NZIMMR researchers to feel confident and competent when working with their Māori collaborators and within a Māori environment.
Led by Research Scientist Dr Nancy Garrity (Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Hine), the project, “Green to Gold – Understanding ourselves and our Māori partnerships through a pounamu lens” also aims to determine whether the aesthetics of pounamu can be restored to the stone. That is in addition to restoring to pounamu carving waste its mana (prestige) and mauri (essence).
NZIMMR will now work towards developing contracts for the research work and confirming milestones and budget, guided by the NZIMMR’s Vision Mātauranga strategy. In this way, the research will align whakapapa (ties of kinship), kaitiakitanga (stewardship) and mātauranga (knowledge, wisdom) based on an Ao Māori (Māori world view) perspective.
The support of Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai in developing the research project is gratefully acknowledged.
Raw pounamu found on the West Coast.