OUR POUNAMU STORY STARTED IN '85
Born in Hokitika on the South Island's West Coast - otherwise known as Pounamu country. Allan is a second generation Jade cutter. He studied the art under his father at the family's Jade studio, and takes great prise in carrying on the family tradition.
Allan opened his first carving studio in 1987 alongside his father in Ferrymead, Christchurch. This is where he's been carving and cutting Greenstone ever since.
Allan's carving career has been impressively successful. His work features in the International Lapidary Journal, published in the USA, which focuses on the cutting and polishing of gemstones worldwide. He has also been commissioned to carve pieces for many distinguished Pounamu collectors around the world.
Many of Allan's sculptures and carvings are displayed in the Te Wahi Pounamu book, with the front cover sculpture highlighting his love and affinity for Greenstone. he feels his carvings demonstrate an intimate connection with traditional Māori culture, something he notes is his passion,
Dean has always had a keen interest in stones. For a number of years, he sold crystals at a local market. However, he wanted to get more hands on with stone and began learning how to make cabochons from a variety of gemstones. As Dean continued his journey with stone, he realized he felt increasingly compelled to work with New Zealand stones - especially Pounamu due to its durability and diversity.
Dean first learnt the art of Toki from Jon Jeet and from there, continued to develop his skills. he became a registered carver with Ngai Tahu, noting that this helps with the integrity of the stone and craftsmanship while also honour its cultural and ancestral value. Pounamu really speaks to Dean on every level of his being, and this is evidently clear in his work.
When Dean isn't in the studio carving, he spends his time volunteering. He's a big believer in giving back to the environment and has done some great work helping injured and sick birds at the South Island Wildlife Hospital.
Ko Porongia te Māunga, Ko Waikato te awa, Ko Tainui te waka, Ko Te Maawe tōku tīpuna, Ko Maniapoto tōku Iwi, Ko Kahotea tōku marae, Ko Joan rāua, Ko Richard ōku mātua, Ko Jon tōku ingoa.
Jon has spent 99 percent of his life on Ngai Tahu soil, where the principal Māori Iwi of the South Island lies. He grew up in and amongst a community of Pounamu carvers so, it was only natural that Jon followed in their footsteps and became a registered artisan.
He believes that Hei Pounamu has an intrinsic, holistic value that is regarded as Tāonga, not just to Māori, but to many New Zealanders. This is why he loves working with Pounamu - he likes knowing that the bearer treasures the Pounamu's essence and carries it with them along on their journey.
Peter's whakapapa traces back to the Arahura river, where he sources much of his stone to craft in a studio not far away. Using only the most rudimentary tools, Peter applies his craft with a heartfelt Karakia to his ancestors to guide his hand before breathing life into his creations.
Peter is an incredibly talented carver, boasting a unique ability to see what lies beneath the stone's surface. He then brings this out in an unparalleled, almost Neolithic style. Peter notes that he always feels he is looking at something ancient and otherworldly when he is holding a piece of his art.
Aden has been carving since 1988, starting his journey with bone. Becoming increasingly inspired, Aden continued refining his skills, eventually stepping into the Jade industry.
When an opportunity to start his own business in carving came about, he absolutely seized it. Aden has continued with his ethics of only working with New Zealand Jade. His designs are a mix of contemporary and traditional styles.
Aden's work has reached all over the world, even to some very well known individuals such as the Dalai Lama, Barak Obama, Prince Richard, Princess Kate Middleton, Lewis Hamilton and film producers from Lord of the Rings and Spike Lee.
Graeme has been carving for over 25 years. After following his passion in carving and Jade he was trained by one of New Zealand's top carvers in Hokitika.
Graeme now works from his own workshop in Christchurch where he continues to connect with Pounamu. His work is recognise all over the world.
"For me, carving Pounamu is a continual journey that has led me to discover much about my heritage and homeland, and a profound respect for this beautiful stone which is as hard as steel".
Andrew is a Pounamu carver and artist of Ngai Tahu descent. Originally from the West Coast of the South Island, he now resides in rural North Canterbury. He learned to carve in 2005 and went on to earn a certificate in Jade and hardstone carving. Not long after, Andrew was offered a position as a full time Jade carver at a large carving studio, where he remained for around three years.
Since then, Andrew has built up his own workshop and carved a wide range of jewellery designs and sculptural pieces. He is massively inspired by ancient cultures and their art forms, primarily Māori, Celtic and Viking, but also Asian and Mesoamerican.
Andrew notes that carving Pounamu is an ongoing journey and he is always looking to learn and grow his craft.