Sunday, June 1, 2014

Annual Westcoast trip - special Rodin patrol

Sunday, June 1, 2014
oldbearnews editor

This year should be quite different.
I used to run these camps - in fact this would have been my 10th camp.  However - I got conned into "training" other leaders into camping so I kept the Westcoast camping experience going.  This year, we went with a troop from Torlesse Zone and the leader in charge was already on his 4th camp. I (and Brush) were tagging along just as observers.  So Brush and myself along with two other members of the famous AITSSS  (oops should have said SECRET)  group became a adult Patrol with limited and special duties.  A weird feeling being on this camp and not having to worry and/or  organize food / transport / accommodation etc etc.

Anyhow - it was a VERY relaxing camp and we had a great time.
Impressions below

The biggest challenge - picking up what to do/make.
There are literally thousands of things you carve - from traditional Maori carvings - past wannabe look-a-like Maori carvings to the - well - kitsch I guess.  If I had time (and money) naturally I may have made a Teddy-bear!!  Alas - I made a teardrop pendant instead!!

 Using a Dremel drill with diamond tips to do the fine cutting/grinding/shaping!!


The Pendant - cut / shaped and half polished!!
Yes there was much more work to be done!!


Here is me hard at work - polish, look, polish, look, polish, look etc;  - hmmmm should have brought my reading glasses with me.  I must admit - this getting older thing  (and supposedly wiser - yeah right) has it's drawbacks, one of which is that I now need reading glasses . . .     Sighs

 In the afternoon we had to leave the workshop as the ankle-biters - oooops Scouts came to do their Green-stone carving.  So we had the afternoon of.  I asked if anyone had yet seen the new-ish made walk in the tree top attraction! None had, so decision made we would go there.  Bold as brass I went to the Till and asked "seeing I had been already 5 x since they opened if I could get discount" - which they promptly did - making me a Senior Citizen - much to my fellow leaders delight!! I will never live that down.


The cafe nearby - with amazing reflections in the wall!!


In between we saw Mount Cook from the distance!!


Looking west and seeing the sun disappear behind the clouds. 

Same time same place - just looking East

 Same time same place and looking south - Mount Cook in the distance and having a red glow!!

 We went back on the next day and finished our own master pieces.

the day after it was time to head back home - Little Jon-e taken with these cloud formation - the "Greymouth Barber"!
It washes over the hill and has an amazing chill factor!!

Another misty river bank up the Taramakau river.
 More early-ish morning fog/mist

The Cub-pack couple - still all grins after spending so much time together!! Wonder what they talked bout during the car journey!!  
Myself and Brush, we clocked up in excess of 10 000km in a van - but THAT story will keep for another day!

Canterbury is famous for it's braided rivers, and this is the Waimakariri near Arthurs pass.  Already braided and much more to go (some 150km ) before it goes out into the sea near Christchurch.

 Four happy campers with their unique Pounamu!!

 Time to come home - unpack and re-connect with my lovely mamabear!!

I resurrected a bit from a much much earlier FB account musings! enjoy reading the stories below.


April 25, 2011 at 5:31pm
Pounamu (greenstone/jade) holds a special place in Maori culture and the reasons are bound tightly into the stone age culture of the Maori. New Zealand jade carving is unique in its designs and forms. We owe this to the Maori who have refined techniques of working with the stone over a long period of time. Early Maori discovered Pounamu's ability to retain a hard, sharp edge making it ideal as cutting tools. We can trace their use of Pounamu back to the twelfth century. Because of its extreme hardness, Pounamu was used by the Maori for weapons and tools. Maori
made adzes (toki), chisels (whao), and war clubs (Mere) from nephrite jade, they fitted the jade to wooden handles and lashed them together using flax cords or simple thongs of leather or flax like a camera strap. It is also prized for ornaments - pendants and earrings.
Because of it's scarcity and the difficulty in working the hard stone (Mere could take months to create), Pounamu tools and weapons attained great value and were traded and used as peace offerrings between warring tribes. Broken tools were rarely discarded. The broken pieces were reworked into smaller tools, ornaments and  jewelery. Thus Pounamu gained special significance for the Maori and now for all New Zealanders. Legends and traditions vary, but the core belief is that in addition to the Mana or spiritual power inherent in the stone, Pounamu absorbs the 'mana' of its
wearers/owners. This mana builds over the lifetime of the piece. It is a stone held to be tapu (sacred) and that it can be both dangerous and protective depending on the
spirit within it, the shape it is carved into, and the events associated with it. Pounamu items are traditionally gifted to persons to provide them with good luck and increase their spiritual health/power. Kept for yourself, the good luck turns to bad. The Maori also believe that a piece of Pounamu will always yearn to return to its source in the rivers and mountains of New Zealand (keep wearing it and you'll be coming back!).
Tradition has it that a greenstone pendant should be given to a special person and not bought for yourself. The sacredness (tapu) comes in the passing of 'mana' to someone who has earned it. It is believed that a carving which is worn with respect or given and received with love, takes on part of the spirit of those who wear or handle it. In this way it becomes a spiritual link between people spanning time and
distance. A carving that has been worn by family or tribal members over many generations contains the spirit of all of those people and is truly a great and
powerful treasure (Taonga). Traditional Maori carvings all have meanings attached to them representing the history and mythology of the Maori people. Many carvings combine elements from several areas of mythology which interact with each other to tell a story. Each element has its own specific meaning and the way they are  portrayed or combined is what gives a carving its own special character. The
meanings of some elements vary from region to region but all share common roots.
Your teardrop shape, symbolises healing and comfort, positive energy and  reassurance. The beauty of jade is unsurpassed with its semi- translucent look and swirls of green that seem to float deep within the stone. Hold a jade carving up to the light and you will truly be looking into another world. Hold it in your hand or against your skin and it will transform into a dark green, almost black, with subtle glimpses of its secret inner life appearing as it moves. Nephrite jade naturally ranges in colour from a very pale green to a very dark, almost black. Wear it frequently and the oils of your skin will add to the warmth and lustre of the Pounamu. I didn't get a real good look at the pieces we gave you but recall them being lighter coloured pieces? So the colours you see holding your pendant to the sun will be more as described for Tangiwai, Inanga or Kahurangi. All that aside, Pounamu is a stone of great beauty
and value.

Caring & Wearing of your Pounamu pendant.
Pounamu will benefit from the addition of light, scented oil and if it is not being worn very regularly, is best stored in a felt or leather pouch. A very light smear of oil in the pouch will enhance carved pounamu with a beautiful warm gloss. Pounamu is normally suspended from thin leather or plaited flax, metal chains do not harmonise with the stone. It was traditional for a piece to be worn level with the cavity where the two collarbones meet above the chest.  Greenstone is a term peculiar to New
Zealand to describe nephrite, and sometimes bowenite. It is known in Maori as Pounamu. New Zealand greenstone is either the mineral nephrite or bowenite.
Pounamu is the Maori group term for both nephrite and bowenite. This greenish-coloured rock was used to make tools, weapons and jewellery. Maori classified pounamu according to colour and named many varieties. There are four (4) main types:
Kawakawa, Kahurangi, Inanga and Tangiwai.

The first three are nephrite and the fourth - Tangiwai is bowenite. Although the Maori placed Tangiwai as a variety of Pounamu, they knew of its difference and
limitations. Three others are Kakotea, Kohuwa and Totoweka  Jade - The name given to two types of silicate minerals, which come in a variety of colours, though the most valued is green. The finest jade is jadeite (which does not occur in New Zealand) and nephrite. Both are very hard and tough. Most New Zealand greenstone, the nephrite variety, is jade. Nephrite - is the only jade mineral found in New Zealand. The Maori names Kahurangi, Kawakawa and Inanga refer to varieties of the nephrite. Kahurangi is a highly translucent, lightish green greenstone with lighter streaks (which look like clouds) and free from dark spots or any flaws. It is one of the rarest varieties of Pounamu. Kawakawa, a strong dark green greenstone with varying intermediate shades and is named because its color resembles that of the leaf of the kawakawa or lofty pepper tree (macropiper excelsum). Inanga (whitebait) is pearly-whitish, grey-green coloured greenstone which can be translucent and with a fine texture. Kakotea - streaky dark green greenstone with black spots
Totoweka - especially rare, usually streaked with white or spotted with red.
Bowenite (Tangiwai) – is a very translucent, olive- green to bluish-green type of serpentine, found mainly near the entrance to Milford Sound in the South Island.
In New Zealand, sources of nephrite are confined to the South Island. The districts surrounding the Taramakau and Arahura Rivers in Westland and the Lake Wakatipu area of Otago are where the main deposits have been found as river boulders washed down from the parent rock in the Southern Alps. Bowenite is found as beach boulders and pebbles at Anita Bay in Milford Sound. From the gold workings on the west coast of the South Island much greenstone was secured, and lapidaries, both in New Zealand and overseas, found a ready sale for it as curios, at first to the Maori and afterwards to tourists and collectors. This trade has continued, but the use of greenstone by the Maori declined so rapidly that by the end of the nineteenth
century its fashioning was a lost art. With the virtual cessation of gold mining, greenstone is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain; hence, to conserve stocks and also to encourage local manufacture of imitation Maori ornaments, jewellery, and souvenirs, an embargo on the export of raw greenstone came into force in April 1947. At the present time high-quality greenstone artefacts are in
keen demand as collectors' pieces and fetch high prices on the open market.
The value of greenstone lies in its beauty and its toughness and hardness, a result partly of mineral composition, but primarily of a characteristic felting and interweaving of minute mineral fibres. On the whole, bowenite greenstone is inferior to nephrite. The greenstone at Milford Sound, “tangiwai” is not really greenstone at all as it is not nephrite but bowenite. The word tangiwai came from the Maori legend relating to the petrification of the tears of a lamenting woman. Sometimes it is referred to as koko-tangiwai, koko meaning ear pendant, and this
signifies its predominant use. Tangiwai has all the mystique of Pounamu and highly prized by Maori. It is softer than nephrite so easier to work. It is a very beautiful stone. The true splendour of tangiwai is only revealed when it has light behind it that illuminate the white speckles that resemble tear drops in the stone. Tangiwai means, “tear water” in Maori Legends. The Maoris have an interesting legend concerning
the bringing of greenstone to New Zealand. Originally, it is alleged, there were two stones, Poutini (the greenstone) and Whaiapu, which belonged to Ngahue and the chieftainess Hina-tua-hoanga respectively. The latter became jealous of Ngahue's
stone and drove him from Hawaiki. Eventually his canoe, Tahirirangi, reached New Zealand and Ngahue hid his greenstone near Arahura on the west coast of the South Island. It was very well hidden and lies there to this day; however, small portions are
occasionally broken off and carried down the river. These pieces provide the Maori with his source of greenstone.

Origin of Greenstone - Tangiwai
Tama-Ahua was deserted by his three wives, Hine-Kawakawa, Hine-Kahurangi, and Hine-Pounamu. No one knew where they had gone. Tama ranged vainly round the southern coasts. At Piopiotahi he heard a suspicious noise and paddled through the towering walls of the sound. There he found one of his wives turned into a translucent greenstone. He bent over the cold body. The tears ran down his face and onto the hard stone, penetrating it until the tangiwai was flecked with tears and remain to be seen there to this today.

Legend of Poutini (abbreviated)
To Maori the West Coast is known as Tai Poutini. Poutini was a taniwha, a giant water being swimming up and down the West Coast of the South Island protecting both the people and the spiritual essence or mauri of pounamu. Poutini guards the mauri within the treasured stone. The mana or spiritual force of pounamu comes from Kahue (or Ngahue) an atua (God). Poutini as protector of the stone is the servant
of Kahue. Poutini once abducted a women, Waitaiki, from the North Island and fled south pursued by her husband. He hid with his captive in the bed of the Arahura
River but Waitaiki's husband pursued them. Poutini transformed Waitaiki into his own spiritual essence - Pounamu - and fled down river to the sea. Waitaiki became the mother lode of all pounamu. The husband went home grieving.

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