Ngāi Tahu Bead of Courage
Every year Ngāi Tahu Pounamu donate hand-carved beads to Child Cancer Foundation as part of the Beads of Courage® programme. The beads are unique to the programme in New Zealand and will be the first bead a child receives when they are initially diagnosed with cancer.
Pounamu is treasured throughout New Zealand for its strength and beauty and is regarded as tapu (sacred), and having mauri (significant life force) and mana (status).
As part of the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme, each bead has a unique authentication code, which allows the owner to trace the source of their particular piece of pounamu. This is an assurance that each bead is genuine, legally-sourced, New Zealand pounamu from Te Waipounamu.
The beads are hand-carved by eight different Ngāi Tahu carvers and in the interests of sustainability, the beads are made from offcuts of the pounamu used for the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu, Waewae Pounamu and the New Zealand Pounamu ranges.
The Pounamu Bead of Courage was launched in conjunction with the opening of the Child Cancer Foundation’s new Christchurch Family Place this morning. The previous Christchurch Family Place was destroyed following the 2011 earthquake.
Waewae Pounamu also placed a large pounamu mauri stone in the new Christchurch Family Place. The mauri stone has been named E tū tamariki toa – Stand tall children, and was blessed prior to be placed in the building.
The strong spiritual connection many feel with the stone is undeniable. Authentic Pounamu links the wearer to the river in which it was found, the shape into which it is reformed and the identity this shape and stone come to represent.Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae
About Ngāi Tahu Pounamu
Ngāi Tahu are the kaitiaki (guardians) of New Zealand greenstone, or jade, which is found in Te Waipounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). Ngāi Tahu people refer to New Zealand greenstone as pounamu. In 1997, the New Zealand Government returned ownership of all naturally occurring pounamu within the iwi tribal area, to the Ngāi Tahu elected tribal council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
The Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme was introduced to ensure that legitimately-sourced Ngāi Tahu Pounamu is easily recognised and respected. It is similar to programmes used to identify honey, organic produce, clothing or free-range eggs. It is a quality assurance for customers that guarantees the product they are purchasing is genuine, legally-sourced pounamu that can be tracked (via the NTP website), back to its point of origin.