Written by UK Flower Girl on 22 Nov, 2006
After our hearty breakfast at Café de Paris, we wandered through Hokitika in search of jade (also called pounamu or greenstone) which isn’t hard to find here. Greenstone is big business in this town and you will find many shops to browse. Your head will…Read More
After our hearty breakfast at Café de Paris, we wandered through Hokitika in search of jade (also called pounamu or greenstone) which isn’t hard to find here. Greenstone is big business in this town and you will find many shops to browse. Your head will spin when you start looking at all of the different pieces, prices, designs, and shops. Tom and I definitely needed some education before we made a purchase.Jade is more confusing that you could ever imagine. There are two different kinds: Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite is principally found around the northern Burmese border with China. The more common Nephrite is found in New Zealand, Australia, Wyoming, British Columbia (main source), Russia and other areas around the world. What is the difference between Jadeite and Nephrite? Jadeite is a silicate of sodium and aluminium and Nephrite is a silicate of calcium and magnesium. They look different and can easily be differentiated. Jadeite is rarer and is of lighter, brighter colours. Nephrite is darker and has inclusions, colour variations, etc. The colour can range from blackish-green all the way to light green, almost white in colour. Different artists have different preferences for which kind they like to carve. Maori artists prefer the Nephrite with all of the inclusions and colour variations. Maoris used jade to make many useful items: chisels and adzes for carving, clubs for combat, and pendants for jewelry just as you can buy today. The South Island’s Maori name is Te Wahi Pounamu, "the place of greenstone" which tells of its importance to New Zealand. Claims to the greenstone on the South Island are highly guarded rights. Export of greenstone is prohibited and greenstone in national parks must remain untouched. You really have to be careful when you are shopping around for jade. I wanted a piece of New Zealand jade, not Russian, American, etc. The shops didn’t have as much New Zealand jade as I would have imagined. If you are looking for jade from a specific area, ask for it. It isn’t always labeled and it seems they don’t offer the information outright.Pendants are carved into many different designs. The traditional Maori designs consist of Hooks, Twists, Korus, Manaias (seahorses), Tikis, and a few others, but you can find a wide variety of designs such as crosses, animals, hearts, etc. Some workshops will even do them to your specifications if you can’t find what you want. I decided I wanted a traditional Maori design and I wanted a big enough piece that you could actually see!Tom offered to buy me a pretty pendant but I just couldn’t decide on which one I wanted. We browsed through several shops and finally decided on The Jade Factory. I wandered around the shop while Tom picked out a pendant for me. It was wrapped up and I opened it once we got on the road out of Hokitika. It was beautiful, a large sort of Koru-inspired design (representing the opening of a fern). I was in for a surprise when I realized there was a bit of a chip on the inside edge. Tom apologized profusely that he didn’t look close enough. For something that cost in excess of NZ$250 you wouldn’t expect this. I wasn’t worried, though, because the Jade Factory has another shop in Queenstown where we would be going in a few days. Hopefully we could get this sorted out there.The Jade Factory is a chain of jade shops with several locations around New Zealand: Auckland, Queenstown, Hokitika, Rotorua, and Christchurch. They have a wide variety of styles and prices. We found the shop in Queenstown to be much more friendly and helpful than the shop in Hokitika. It could be that the shop in Hokitika is overrun by tour buses all the time!A few days later when we arrived in Queenstown the manager at The Jade Factory was more than happy to help with my pendant. The only issue with this shop is that it didn’t have the same style as I had purchased because they don’t carry an extensive collection like the Hokitika shop. She offered to post one to me, but I didn’t want to wait. So began the hunt for another one I liked. We finally settled on one a bit larger and a bit more expensive than the one we had originally chosen. I was very happy with my choice and to this day I simply adore my New Zealand jade pendant. Close
Written by JAA76 on 07 Apr, 2003
The night before the festival there were bands set up around the town playing different music, either because they had been booked or were busking. The town was a sea of people with every drinking hole and eating place full and spilled out into…Read More
The night before the festival there were bands set up around the town playing different music, either because they had been booked or were busking. The town was a sea of people with every drinking hole and eating place full and spilled out into the streets. The area near the beach was more family orientated although as it got later the families were replaced with groups of happy, drunk people enjoying the night.
The festival itself was massive, 23,000 people fitting into the area of a few football fields. Either get in early and quickly try as much food and drink as you can or wait until after the rush at about 2pm. By 2pm people have eaten there fill and started drinking in the sun, listening to the free bands.
The foods range from sheep eyes, scorpions, huhu grubs, wild bull testicles and penis sausage, wild pig and bulls, haggis and many other edible items not found in most restaurants.
By the time the events finished and people kicked out at 5pm most people are drunk but not unruly so. The crowd heads to other pubs to drink or to the beach and then stay out on the town or head back later to the festival area for more bands, most people stay out on the town. There are bonfires everywhere on the beach and the vibe is very relaxed.
For the size of the event and the near lack of visible security, the festival had minimal times of aggresion (I saw 1 fight between 2 drunk uni kids) and I can highly recommend it for people of any age.