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A Manatū Taonga audio guide to pounamu. Check out the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's audio guide in the image carousel above.

Pounamu – greenstone or jade – was prized by Māori, and gave its name to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu). Long associated with the Ngāi Tahu tribe, pounamu was especially common in the bed of the Arahura River. This precious stone is said to have been created by the taniwha Poutini.

Pounamu – jade or greenstone,


Poutini and Waitaiki,

Ngāi Tahu,

Arahura River,

Archival audio sourced from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives, Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives (Reference number sa-d-02206-s02-pm).

Roadside Stories is a series of audio guides that follow major road trips in New Zealand. The stories cover the places you’ll pass along the way – their people, their history, their cultural and natural significance. For more information about Roadside Stories visit

Map showing Precious Pounamu - Roadside Stories