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The Stone Implements of the Maori


page 175

For many years the Geological Surveys of this country have sought for the home of the valued greenstone—the origin of the fragments, more or less waterworn, found in the river-beds of many of the rivers of the West Coast. It was known that it must have its origin in the irregular belt of serpentine rocks; and recent reports show that it occurs in situ in irruptive rocks, highly metamorphic, forming the Pounamu formation in the Arahura Series—the Magnesian Belt of the older Survey. Greenstone, or nephrite, wherever observed occurs as rounded segregations in the talc rock or talc-serpentine rocks. The segregations vary in size from 1 in. or less in diameter to 2 ft. or more. A fine block weighing 3 tons is in the American Museum of Natural History, New York. The Report of the Geological Survey under Dr. Bell* gives the history of the exploration of the locality, and a table of analyses from Dana (1904), and details as to forms and varieties found in Westland, more particularly of the segregations found at the head of Griffin Creek.

It is not, however, with the purely geological aspect of the greenstone question that we wish to write, but of its history and renown in ancient Maoridom.

* N.Z. Geol. Survey Bull. No. 1 (1906) p. 70.