Poutini is the guardian of pounamu (jade). Poutini was pursued by a taniwha Whaitipu — the guardian of Hinehoaka (sandstone). Whilst being pursued, he saw Waitaiki bathing and fell in love with her beauty. He captured her and swam to the South Island. Waikaiki’s husband, Tamaahua, used karakia (incantations) to pursue them. He finally tracked them to the Arahura river on the west coast of South Island. Poutini, fearing being caught by Waitaiki’s husband, turned Waitaiki into his likeness of pounamu. He laid her to rest on the riverbed of the Arahura and then fled to sea becoming the guardian of the land and pounamu.
Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu
Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Māori jade artists of his generation. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua. During his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade) and was immediately attracted to its artistic possibilities. Māori had always valued pounamu for both its hardness and for its translucent beauty. Lewis was no different — as he says, “Our tupuna (ancestors) have given us, the Māori people, the resource and knowledge base to provide a reference for us and our children for years to come.”
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