Due to the increasing popularity of bone and pounamu carvings, many of New Zealandís traditional maori designs and carvings have been copied. This is the case with many of the carvings available on the internet (and even in stores throughout New Zealand). At Texan we ALWAYS use NZ greenstone or cow bone and local artists and carvers. Beware when buying carvings anywhere (on the net or in stores) and always ask what it is made from (jade or greenstone- there is a difference!) and where it is made.
Insist on NZ made and come away with a better quality product (knowing its origins and that the artist is paid adequately for their wares). Cheap knock-offs are not of the same quality and trades-people are paid NOTHING to make them. Furthermore these fakes damage both the New Zealand economy and reputation of real New Zealand crafters.
Why bother buying traditional maori designed greenstone if it wasnít made here?
New Zealand Greenstone (Pounamu).
Made from nephrite, a stone related to jade and found in several places in New Zealand's South Island. It is called pounamu in Maori, greenstone in New Zealand English.
The Maori name for the South Island, Te Wai Pounamu, refers to this stone. This stone is native to our land and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a beautiful stone - classed as semi-precious - and quite variable in appearance. Its lustre improves with age, reputedly as a result of being worn next to the skin. It is a very hard stone and consequently laborious to work with. Therefore pieces with the most amount of carving and skill shown, are the most expensive. Our pieces range from $25 (for straight small drops) to $500 depending on the work involved and the artist creating them.
We also do a range of bone carvings. These are all made from cow bone (we donít believe in the killing of whales and do not support whale bone carvers). These are all made from NZ materials and carved by NZ crafts people.
Hei tiki have become iconic emblems of both the Maori people and New Zealand. It is said that the Tiki name came from the myth of Tiki- the first man created by Tane (full name is Hei-Tiki). It is widely believed to be a powerful spirit for warding off bad luck, therefore acting as a good luck charm. It is also considered a symbol of fertility. Other spiritual links to this talisman and their wearers are perceptiveness, loyalty, strength of character and knowledge. Many years ago the most valuable tikis were hand carved from greenstone, and were handed down through the generations as treasured possessions. The Tiki today is carved in a range of materials from greenstone and beef bone pendants through to small to medium statutes or wall hangings made from native New Zealand timbers or pottery.
The maori name for the scroll shaped unfurling fern frond. It represents new life and new beginnings.
Wave-koru: A design combining the waves of the ocean and the natural unfurling of the fern frond. Representing new life and new beginnings.
Is a symbol of eternity, the cross-overs representing many paths of life and love. Thus symbolising the bonding of friendship and joining of lives forever. Double and triple twists have similar meanings but symbolises the joining of peoples and cultures.
A closed circle represents the circle of life. It has no beginning and no end. Often it is linked in carvings with the koru- to link new love, life and beginnings with the circle of life.
The ocean is very important to the maori people and remains a sacred and revered part of nature. As with the land, they have much respect for the ocean and its creatures, particularly dolphins and whales.
Fish hook (Hei Matau)
Symbolising strength, prosperity and a respect for the sea. It is said to provide good luck when travelling (especially over water). Therefore are popular for those travelling or away from home.
A holder of great spiritual energy and is a guardian against evil.
Pounamu was also used to make weapons the most notable being the mere, or club. A spatulate form of club used in close combat in an upward jabbing motion,it was often a symbol of rank and was regarded as the most valuable possesion a warrior could own
The Maori fashioned pounamu into tools such as chisels for carving and the adze (toki). These tools were used for the building and decorating of canoes (waka) and houses (whare). Now days these can be worn (greenstone, bone, pottery) or purchased as wall hangings.
A tall grass with feather-like plumes.
Cabbage tree (Ti kouka)
Grows all thru NZ and maori used it for both as a food and a fibre for weaving.
Often a stylised version of 4 petals or leaves are used as a design on tapa cloth or other handmade items. It represents birth and life.
Grows thru NZ and is prolific and adaptable. It is used by Maori for kete (baskets) and rope and is a favourite of our native Tui..