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Kura Pounamu: Our Treasured Stone


  • Fri 8 Dec 2023, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Sat 9 Dec 2023, 1:00pm–4:00pm
  • Sun 10 Dec 2023, 1:00pm–4:00pm
  • Tue 12 Dec 2023, 10:00am–4:00pm
  • Wed 13 Dec 2023, 10:00am–4:00pm

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All Ages

An exhibition of more than 200 pounamu greenstone treasures, Kura Pounamu tells the story of this most precious of stones, its significance to Māori, and its enduring value from ancient times until today.

Outstanding examples of traditional toki (tools), hei tiki (pendants in human form), and mere (weapons) form the majority of the exhibition, many very rare, with some of the oldest thought to originate from early settlement times, around 700-800 years ago.

Four large pounamu touchstones complete the collection – the largest of which, “Te Hurika”, weighs 170kg.

Created by Te Papa working closely with Ngāi Tahu and other iwi, the exhibition has been appreciated by visitors in their hundreds of thousands locally and overseas. Some of the taonga have a connection to local places such as D’Urville Island and Port Underwood.

Found only in the South Island of New Zealand, Kura Pounamu: Our Treasured Stone reaffirms the ancient links pounamu has with Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island). Image: Hei tiki (pendant in human form), 2008, made by Lewis Tamihana Gardiner of the tribes Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, and Te Whānau-a-Apanui, New Zealand. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (ME024001)

An exhibition presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

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