New Zealand Pounamu (Greenstone)
Māori regarded pounamu as a treasure of immense spiritual and material value. Its qualities making it the most prized possession representive of mana (spiritual power) and rank. The courage, endurance and skill involved in locating and working the tools and ornaments added to the prestige of them. This lead to the belief that pounamu absorbs the name of its past owners and many family heirlooms are called by their names in memory of authority and position.
The Māori name for the west coast of the South Island is Te Wai Pounamu - the greenstone waters. Pounamu is mainly found near the Taramakau and Arahura rivers in Westland, around Lake Wakatipu in Otago, and in Milford Sound, in Fiordland.
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