Pounamu : The Jade of New Zealand

Author(s): Russell Joseph Beck

Maori Tikanga

Pounamuis a celebration of jade in its many forms. It is a magnificent tribute to this New Zealand icon, the finest book on the subject ever published.

Through the eyes of pounamu specialists Russell Beck and Maika Mason, we explore jade's powerful connection with the natural environment, its Mäori myths and history, jewellery and taonga, geology and technical characteristics, places where pounamu is found, methods of working, cultural issues regarding the ownership and management of jade as a resource, contemporary carving, and its significance in the international arena.

The text is enhanced by the exquisite, timeless landscape photography of Andris Apse, which sets pounamu firmly in the South Island mountain environment from which it emerges in its natural state. Through these unforgettable photographs we see pounamu in a new and fascinating way.

Pounamuis a treasure in its own right, a sumptuous book to be adored for years to come.


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Finalist in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards - Illustrated Non-fiction category

Russell Beck has studied all aspects of nephrite jade for over fifty years, especially research into Maori usage, and involvement with the discovery of new sources and their preservation. A qualified gemmologist (FGA), he was also director of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery for twenty-three years, until his retirement in 1999. He has travelled widely from the Arctic to the Subantarctic and has inspected most of the world's nephrite deposits occurring in China, North America, Siberia, East Asia and the South Pacific. Russell is the author of New Zealand Jade: The Story of Greenstone, first published in 1970 and revised over two subsequent editions. He has co-authored many international publications, written articles and papers and delivered lectures about New Zealand jade in New Zealand and overseas. Russell is a carver of jade as well as a sculptor. His work has attracted several awards and is represented in public and private collections. In 2000, Russell was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). He lives in Invercargill. Maika Mason is of the Ngati Waewae hapu of Ngai Tahu and has had a long association with pounamu since early childhood. He has been actively involved in the tribal affairs of Ngai Tahu in recent decades. During the Ngai Tahu Treaty claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, he was the leading advocate and authority on Ngai Tahu history, traditions and values associated with the West Coast pounamu. As Ngai Tahu pounamu researcher, Maika undertook an inventory research programme of Ngai Tahu taonga held in major museums. Now retired, Maika was the long-time chairman of the Mawhera Incorporation, which owns and manages the pounamu resource of the Arahura Valley, where he lives. Andris Apse is one of New Zealand's leading landscape photographers. During a career spanning over thirty years, he has won many major international awards for his work, and is acknowledged as one of the finest wilderness photographers in the world. Apse has published many books of photography, including the phenomenally successful New Zealand Landscapes, which has sold more than 150,000 copies and still appears on bestseller lists. In 2010, Apse was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). He lives at Okarito on the West Coast.

General Fields

  • : 9780670074884
  • : Penguin Group (NZ)
  • : Viking
  • : January 2010
  • : 322mm X 257mm X 29mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : en
  • : 553.8760993
  • : 237
  • : colour photographs
  • : Russell Joseph Beck