Pounamu (NZ Jade)

Deal of the DayFor a small town, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Before the gold rushes Maori were already heading here in search of another precious stone – pounamu. The Arahura River is the birth place of pounamu which is also known as greenstone or New Zealand jade.

Pounamu was prized for its strength, durability and beauty and used for weapons, tools and personal ornaments – it also denoted great status.  

Pounamu in Hokitika

  • Shop for pounamu in the many shops and galleries. Master carvers work in their studios and you can chat to the carver about its origins or the design. 
  • You can even carve a piece for yourself! 
  • For the fossicker there is still the chance you can find a bit of your own. It’s not uncommon to find small pieces on the Hokitika beach that have been washed down in a storm.
  • If you want to learn even more about the precious stone there are free educational tours in town. 
  • The Arahura River is the birthplace of pounamu. There are many different legends about the origin of pounamu. One well known story tells of Poutini who fell in love with Waitaiki - a beautiful married woman that he saw bathing in the river. Poutini was chased by the husband Tamāhua who had kidnapped his wife Waitaiki. Fearing capture but refusing to give up his love, Poutini turned Waitaiki into his essence - pounamu - and laid her in the riverbed at the junction of the Arahura River with a stream that became known as Waitaiki.

Browse the listings below for Hokitika places that feature pounamu. 

See & Do

Mountain Jade - Weld Street
PH: (03) 755 8007 E:

FREE INTERACTIVE GUIDED TOURS DAILY - Learn about the history, formation & manufacture of jade. Mountain Jade has one of NZ's largest selection of quality & affordable Jade/Pounamu carvings & sculptures for you to choose from. A "Must Do" West Coast experience. 

Hokitika Beach Walk

LOCATION : Hokitika Beach

Access: Readily accessible from Beach St, via Weld Lane, Sunset Point Rd & several other access roads (see map).
Features: Wonderful wild beach, black sand & pebbles (including pounamu-jade), driftwood, mountain views, sunsets, sunrise, & starry nights. Walks, picnicking, fossicking for pebbles & driftwood, sandcastles, swimming (for the experienced only), surfing, & surfcasting. Keep your eyes open for the Little Blue Penguin but please respect their space!

Art & Craft

Heritage Jade

PH: (03) 755 6514 E:

Featuring Pounamu (New Zealand jade). Call in and see the finest carved pounamu pieces on the West Coast. Colin, our carver, is of Ngai Tahu descent and gathers and shapes this sacred stone himself to ensure best quality. Located opposite Fat Pipi Pizza. 

Traditional Jade
PH: (03) 755 5233 E:

Traditional Jade is a locally owned small family business who are of Ngai Tahu descent. We have top quality affordable Jade/Pounamu carvings and sculptures. Come and visit our friendly knowledgeable team and see one of the biggest raw jade collections in New Zealand.

Westland Greenstone Ltd

PH: (03) 755 8713 E:

Established in 1962 and proud to be following the tradition of manufacturing and selling exclusively genuine NZ jade. Watch our craftsmen at work in our bright and welcoming showroom. Choose from top quality jewellery, ornaments, Merino Possum, Icebreaker Merino clothing, paua products, NZ Skincare and much more. Our expert friendly staff will help you buy with confidence. Open 7 days.

Hokitika Craft Gallery
PH: (03) 755 8802 E:

This special gallery is a co-operative of local crafts people and artists. It is owned and operated by members who make unique designs to the highest standards. The gallery features New Zealand Jade, Bone, Wood, Pottery, Fibre, Silk, Flax and Art. Open 7 days 8.30 - 5.30 (Winter 9.30 - 5.00). Come and meet the makers!


Wilderness Gallery
PH: (03) 755 7575 E: MOBILE: 021 184 0917

Discover highest quality, purely New Zealand made art, giftware and jewellery alongside the local colours of the West Coast captured by renowned wildlife and landscape photographer Juergen Schacke. The fresh and inspiring Gallery is a fantastic way to take in and take home the spirit of the region. "Highlight of Hokitika", "Amazing Gallery" are only two of many excellent tripadvisor review headlines. Open 7 days.

Mountain Jade - Tancred Street
PH: (03) 755 8009 E:

Come visit our friendly, knowledgeable staff and view the large selection of Jade/Pounamu jewellery and sculptures. Something for everyone at great prices. Open 7 days

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Hokitika Cool Little Town