Pounamu - what is it?
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
The sacred greenstone unique to New Zealand plays a key role in the relationship of Helene and Mere in 'The Pounamu Prophecy.'
Maori Word for Greenstone
Pounamu is a beautiful word for a beautiful stone. It is the Maori word for greenstone, a unique type of jade found only in the South Island of New Zealand. It is a sacred stone, treasured by Maori as a sign of status or power and used for making peace. It is often carved into pendants and other jewellery which many tourists buy when they visit New Zealand.
Pounamu for Peace
In the past it was also carved into tools and weapons. Sometimes these valuable and most beautiful weapons were given to another tribe as a peace agreement. Pounamu is still used this way today. My husband's tribe gave pounamu as a gesture of peace to another tribe after a heated dispute over where his Mum should be buried.
Pounamu is smooth and cool to the touch. It has a depth of pattern, as though looking into the deepest green waters. In The Pounamu Prophecy, Helene experiences the cool, soothing effect of this remarkable stone. It is a stone that one could readily endow with spiritual qualities but as Helene is reminded by her friend, Mere:
'It is not the stone, but the maker of the stone that gives us peace.'
Kia tau te rangi marie.