Ngāi Tahu Pounamu
Every year, Ngāi Tahu Pounamu donate hand-carved beads to Child Cancer Foundation as part of the Beads of Courage® programme.
The pounamu beads are unique to the programme in New Zealand, and are 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).
“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. The pounamu bead won’t heal a child of course, but we believe it will offer emotional comfort and a sense of belonging,” – Francois Tumahai, chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae on the West Coast.
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 Wai pounamu.
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.
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