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Pounamu, or jade, is one of New Zealand's most treasured natural resources, celebrated for its rich beauty and significance to the Maori people. Pounamu Treasures: Nga Taonga Pounamu is a simple and stylish collection of object photographs that honours the stone in its many forms. Respected pounamu specialists Russell Beck and Maika Mason provide detailed descriptions of both historical and contemporary objects, including information on varieties and source, Maori names, size and age, usage and history - all complemented by the exquisite photography of Andris Apse.
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Maika is of the Ngati Waewae hapu of Ngai Tahu and has had a long association with pounamu since early childhood. In recent decades, he has been actively involved in the tribal affairs of Ngai Tahu. 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.
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