Kura Pounamu: Our Treasured Stone

An exhibition created by Te Papa working closely with Ngāi Tahu, featuring more than 200 pounamu taonga.

This exhibition tells the story of this most precious of stones, its significance for Māori, and its enduring value from ancient times until today.

The exhibition includes some very rare cultural taonga

  taongatreasuresMāori | Noun
, including some 95 hei tiki

  hei tikipendant in human formMāori | Noun
, 20 mere

  mereweaponMāori | Noun
, and four large pounamu

  pounamuAotearoa New Zealand greenstoneMāori | Noun
touchstones, the largest of which, “Te Hurika”, weighs in at 170kg.



Detail of pounamu kōhatu, tahutahi variety. Photograph courtesy of Te Rūnanga O Makaawhio

The earliest pounamu pieces in the exhibition may be the toki

  tokiadze bladesMāori | Noun
, tools used for working wood. Some are thought to originate from early settlement times some 700-800 years ago, and replicate East Polynesian adze shapes.

Developed and presented by Te Papa and Ngāi Tahu.

The exhibition known in New Zealand as Kura Pounamu, Treasured stone of Aotearoa New Zealand was shown at Te Papa from September 2009 to July 2011. It was then reworked for touring internationally and was shown at five venues in China from November 2012 to June 2014 and in Paris under the title La pierre sacrée des Māori (Sacred stone of the Māori) in 2017.

Tour schedule and availability

Kura Pounamu: Our Treasured Stone is available as a touring exhibition now.

Marlborough Art Gallery, Blenheim Dec 2023 – Feb 2024
Pātaka, Porirua 18 Mar – 11 Jun 2023
Otago Museum, Ōtepoti Dunedin 26 Mar – 28 Aug 2022
Nelson Provincial Museum Pupuri Taonga o Te Tai Ao, Whakatū Nelson 24 Aug – 24 Nov 2019
Canterbury Museum, Ōtautahi Christchurch 15 Dec 2018 – 3 Jun 2019
Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paris, France 22 May – 1 Oct 2017

Planning to visit? Check the venue website for confirmed dates.

Hosting enquiries

Jake Yocum, Touring Exhibition Manager
Phone: +64 (0)4 381 7317
Email: touringexhibitions@tepapa.govt.nz