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The Stone Implements of the Maori

Greenstone (Nephrite)

Greenstone (Nephrite)

This was the most highly prized of all stones in Maoridom, and deserves special mention. Not only is it assigned a mythical origin in Maori lore, but it is also endowed with life, or is personified, in such myths.

A remark made by Te Otatu, at a time when the Coromandel district was about to be opened to prospectors and gold-miners, shows the value placed upon nephrite by the Maori: "Let the gold be worked by the white men. It was not a thing known to our ancestors. My only treasure is the pounamu (Kati ano taku taonga nui i te pounamu). Fern-root may be found. When my ko strikes against a fern-root I break that root and see if it is of a good mealy kind; but that [the gold], a sandfly is larger than it."

In his account of his stay at Queen Charlotte Sound in 1777, Cook says, "Neither is there any mineral worth notice but a green jasper or serpent stone, of which the New-Zealanders make their tools and ornaments. This is esteemed a precious article by them; and they page 176have some superstitious notions about the method of its generation, which we could not perfectly understand. It is plain, however, that wherever it may be found (which, they say, is in the channel of a large river far to the southward) it is disposed in the earth in thin layers, or, perhaps, in detached pieces, like our flints, for the edges of those pieces which have not been cut are covered with a whitish crust like these. A piece of this sort was purchased, about 18 in. long, 1 ft. broad, and near 2 in. thick, which yet seemed to be only the fragment of a larger piece."

Sydney Parkinson makes a few brief references to the nephrite implements and ornaments of the Maori in his Journal (1769-70): "In and about their ears some of them had white feathers … others had the teeth of their parents or a bit of greenstone worked very smooth." These were seen at a place near Poverty Bay (Turanga).

Of some natives further south, on the Hawke's Bay coast, he says, "Several of them had pieces of greenstone hung about their necks, which seemed to be pellucid, like an emerald…. In one of their canoes we saw a hatchet, made of the greenstone, in shape like those of Otaheite (Tahiti)." ("Pieces of this stone were brought home in the 'Endeavour'; on examination it appears to be a fine sort of nephrite stone"—This in a footnote by the editor, Stanley Parkinson.)

Again, on the east coast, at Tegadoo(?), Parkinson says, "One of them had an axe made of the before-mentioned greenstone, which he would not part with for anything we offered him." And at Tolago Bay, "They had some greenstone axes and ear-rings, but they would not part with them on any terms." Most of the early writers on the Maori appear to term adzes and mere "axes" and "hatchets," and ear-pendants are spoken of as ear-rings frequently.

Of a native seen on the coast somewhere about Cape Palliser, Parkinson says, "On his ears hung a bunch of teeth, and an ear-ring of poonammoo, or greenstone."

While lying at Queen Charlotte Sound (1st November 1774) Cook remarks, "We were visited by a number of strangers, who came from up the sound…. Their chief commodity was greenstone or talc, an article which never came to a bad market; and some of the largest pieces of it I had ever seen were got this day."

Colenso says, "The most esteemed goods, the real personal wealth of the ancient New-Zealanders, were greenstone (un worked or worked as axes, war-clubs, and ornaments), finely woven flax garments, totara canoes, &c."

In the Wellington Evening Post, of the 9th March, 1910, is an account of a nephrite adze that was found after having been lost for page 177generations. It belonged to one Paruparu, a descendant of Maniapoto, who flourished "two or three hundred years ago," who buried it near Te Kuiti. It was long sought for by his descendants, who, however, never succeeded in finding it. At one time two hundred men were engaged in probing for it with spears, but without avail. Latterly it was found by a European when making a drain, who handed it over to the Native Land Court that it might be returned to its rightful owners, who were delighted to regain it, so highly prized are these nephrite implements that have belonged to their ancestors.

There are two kinds of stone known as greenstone to the colonists —viz., nephrite and bowenite. The former, states Professor Hutton, "is a silicate of magnesia only, but contains a small quantity of water. Bowenite is softer than nephrite, and can be scratched with the point of a knife."* This latter is of a lighter colour than most nephrite, and, being softer, is much more easily worked by grinding, &c. It is known as tangiwai to the Maoris, who considered it much inferior to nephrite for the manufacture of tools and ornaments. The natives have many different names for nephrite, according to its colour and appearance; but the generic term for all varieties is pounamu.

So many different names have been applied to nephrite—as greenstone, jade, jadeite, green talc, &c., not to speak of many native names—that in order to avoid confusion it is proposed to apply the one term, nephrite, to it in the following notes, save in quotations.

In a remarkably fine monograph, "On the Working of Greenstone," by Mr. F. R. Chapman, we note the following remarks: "The kind of stone known as tangiwai (bowenite) is very inferior, and is easily scratched with a knife, but it is sometimes very beautiful. It is found at Piopio-tahi, or Milford Sound, and perhaps at other places. It is sometimes taken in slabs off serpentine boulders, and may be obtained on the beach at Anita Bay, near the mouth of the above sound. Damour, of Lyons, has analysed it, and finds that it is chemically quite a different stone from the pounamu (nephrite)."

The "New Zealand Journal" for the 13th September, 1845, gives the following extract from Brodie's "State of New Zealand": "The greenstone so much prized by the Maoris, and also, it was hoped, by the Chinese, is found at various places on the west coast. It has principally hitherto been worked in a place called Barn Bay.

* According to Moh's scale, steel stands at 6 and nephrite at 6½, hence the latter just escapes being scratched by steel. In the same scale quartz stands at 7, topaz at 8, corundum at 9, and diamond at 10. We are informed that stones and minerals are difficult to work more in proportion to their density than their hardness.

Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv, p. 479.

page 178A block of it weighing several tons lay on the beach here, in breaking up which Captain Anglin and some of his crew were so much injured. But the mineral must be abundant, for I was shown several rounded pebbles of it picked up on the beach, where they are sufficiently common. There are two kinds of greenstone—that which is commonly seen, and which is named the pounamu; and another sort, more glassy and transparent, named tangiwai. The former is exceedingly hard, and has an irregular fracture. The tangiwai is much softer, of a more transparent green, and divides easily into plates. It can be scratched with a knife, or thin plates can thus be raised. The greenstone prized by the Chinese is … slightly different in colour. It has a transparency and brilliancy which I have never yet seen in the New Zealand stone. Ornaments made of the Chinese greenstone look almost like stained glass, or some parts of them are nearly colourless, while others are clouded with beautifully transparent grass-greens and whites. The mineral of these shades of colour is exceedingly valuable in China—worth its weight in gold. It is by no means unlikely that the mineral having the requisite shade may yet be found in New Zealand."

Nephrite, like bowenite, has only been found within a comparatively small area on the west coast of the South Island—viz., in the Taramakau and Arahura Rivers and their vicinity. It is found in the form of boulders in the river-beds and also on the sea-beach. The Maoris seem to have always relied on finding float pieces of nephrite boulders, and pieces in river-beds and on the sea-beach, and speak of only one place where they appear to have found it in situ. That place was, however, under a waterfall, and inaccessible, save by swimming. The Government Geologist, however, Dr. J. Macintosh Bell, says it is found in situ at the head of Griffin's Creek, a branch of the Taramakau (not Teremakau, as usually spelt) River. (See "Journal of the Polynesian Society," vol. xvii, page 61.)

Forster seems to have believed that nephrite was found at Queen Charlotte Sound, to judge from the following remarks in his "Observations": "Among the fossil productions of this country we must likewise reckon a greenstone, which sometimes is opaque and sometimes quite transparent, manufactured by the natives into hatchets, chisels, and ornaments, and seems to be of the nephrite kind (Talcum nephriticum, Linn). This stone is commonly brought by the natives from the interior parts of Queen Charlotte Sound to the south-west, in which direction they pointed. We asked for its native place, and they called it Poenamoo, from whence probably the above-mentioned part of the country obtained the denomination of Tavai Poenamoo; but next to Matoo-aroo (Motu-aru), on the little page 179islet, where the natives formerly had one of their hippas (pa) or strongholds, this stone is found in perpendicular or somewhat oblique veins, of about 2 in. thickness, in the above-mentioned strata of talcous greyish stone. The nephrite is seldom solid or in large pieces, for the greatest fragments we saw never exceeded 12 in. or 15 in. in breadth, and about 2 in. in thickness."

Mr. Chapman states that since writing his paper on greenstone he has ascertained "that the rare stone called inanga, named from its resemblance to the colour of whitebait, was found between Mount Alfred and Mount Earnslaw, at the head of Lake Wakatipu. My informant, Rawiri te Maire, eighty-five years of age, had never been there; older men had told him. The actual spot is lost."

In former times the natives made long and arduous excursions by land and sea in order to obtain the coveted nephrite. So many, however, were the difficulties to be overcome in such journeys that most of the prized stone obtained by North Island tribes was probably gained by means of barter. It is certain that the natives of the Bay of Plenty and interior districts so obtained all the nephrite that they possessed, save what they stole—that is to say, looted from defeated enemies. Many a native's life has been purchased for a weapon or pendant of the precious stone of the Maori.

The following item from "Te Ika a Maui" is a good illustration of the native system of barter, as practised in former times: "Hori Patene, before he engaged in war with the Europeans, knew that the Rotorua natives had a large quantity of powder. He and his people set to work, and made half a dozen greenstone mere. These required the incessant labour of the entire population of Pipiriki for nearly a year. When finished the Rotorua natives were invited to a hakari, or feast, and, on their arrival, were presented with these mere. After some time a return visit was paid, when the Pipiriki natives demanded a large supply of powder, which was given to them, that the account might be settled."

"During the fighting at Rua-toki a man's life was purchased from his captor by handing the latter a greenstone ear-pendant.

"Tu-te-rangi-kurae, a chief of Ngai-Tai, was slain by Te Whaka-tohea, who cut up the body and distributed the pieces thereof among their various clans, Ngati-Rua obtaining the head. Some time after, Ngai-Tai redeemed the head of their chief by giving a greenstone patu (a weapon), known as Wawahi-rangi, for it." (See "Journal of the Polynesian Society," vol. xii, page 162.)

The name of Te Wai-pounamu is often applied to the South Island by natives. It may or may not have been applied to the whole island page 180in former times. If so, it probably originated by being applied only to the river in which nephrite was obtained. Native names of districts have in many cases been derived from the name of a small place or some natural object, which small place or object is known as the tino or tuturu of the district-name. Thus the whole of the South Island is known as Kai-koura to the natives of the Bay of Plenty in the north, although that name, correctly speaking should be applied only to a place on the north-east coast of that island.

In a small book entitled "The British Colonisation of New Zealand," we note the following: "The name set down on maps as that of the South Island, Tavai Poenammoo, merely means the place of greenstone (?). Before the natives became acquainted with iron they deemed it very valuable. They dive for it, and fish it up from the bottom of an inland lake towards the southern extremity of the island, and it is not found elsewhere." This is at page 81. At page 123 of the same work the inland lake becomes a coastal lagoon, situated north of Otago (Otakou) Harbour, "from which the natives supply themselves with the favourite talc for their weapons." Needless to say that this "greenstone lake" never existed.

The place-name of Wai-pounamu (nephrite waters, or river), being the most famous name and place in the South Island, would very probably come into use as a name for the whole island—at least, among the North Island tribes. Some of the northern tribes include the coastal district from Pori-rua to Mana-watu in the term Kapiti, which is the native name of Entry Island.

The Maoris of Queen Charlotte Sound informed Captain Cook that they got the nephrite by taking it out of the water, which they called tovy poennammoo or tavai poennammoo—that is, "the water of green talc."

In his work, "The New-Zealanders," published in 1847, G. F. Angas says, "The greenstone, or jade, enters much into the manufacture of their more valuable articles; it is only found at a lake in the South Island, called Te Wai Poonamoo, or 'the waters of green talc,' and is most highly prized; the meri (mere), or war-club of the chiefs, is wrought by incessant labour out of this substance, as are their ear-rings (pendants), adzes, and the grotesque little representation of a human figure, which is worn round the neck by both sexes; this latter is called E tiki (tiki or heitici), and is regarded as an heirloom, descending from father to child."

Charles Terry, in his work on New Zealand (1842), says (page 177), "The missionaries have never visited the Middle Island; but it is very clear that the natives of the Northern Island formerly must page 181have had frequent intercourse with the eastern coast of it, to obtain the green talc at the lake (waipoenamoo), of which their deadly war instrument, the meri (mere), was made."

In "The New-Zealanders" ("Library of Entertaining Knowledge," 1830) occurs the following: "They [the Maoris] also make certain of their weapons and carving-tools of green talc, or jasper stone, which is found only in the Southern Island, and—at least, before they became acquainted with iron—used to be accounted by themselves as a very precious article."

Polack, in his "New Zealand: A Narrative of Travels and Adventures," vol. i, page 343, gives some account of nephrite, his notes being a curious mixture of fact and myth: "The poenamu (pounamu), or green talc, jasper, serpent-stone, and jade—for it is known by all these names—has ever been held in high estimation by the aborigines of the country. It is found in the channel of a river-lake, which has a distant communication with the sea. This lake is known as Te Wai Poenamu, or 'the water of green talc.' It is disposed in its natural bed on the banks of the lake, and, similar to flint, has a whitish incrustation on its outer edges. It lies in layers, not of a large size. When first dug from its bed it is found to be of a soft nature, but it hardens on exposure to the air. This substance, when not formed too thick, is semi-transparent, having the appearance of crystallite.

"No European article of warfare has yet been introduced that is more affectionately regarded than implements formed of this substance by the natives: they are respected as the legacies of an ancestral people, lost for ever. The meri (mere), or native implement used in battle instead of the tomahawk, is generally made of poenamu (pounamu). A thousand tales, bordering on the supernatural, are attached to these deadly weapons … Manatunga, or 'forget-me-nots,' are made of this valuable stone, and are appended from the neck, ears, &c. Tiki … are also formed of the poenamu. These mineralogical mementos are peculiarly cherished, from the circumstance of having belonged to relatives whose appearance will gladden their descendants no more. I have frequently desired to obtain some of these antiquities, but they were esteemed beyond any price; nor can I conceive any inducements that could cause them to part with these remembrances.

"The natives have many superstitions respecting this stone. The priests, to whom I always applied for any information relating to native polemics, always said the poenamu was originally a fish, who, naturally vexed at being unceremoniously taken out of the water, transformed itself into a stone."

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Mr. Colenso, in his paper "On Nomenclature," remarks on the "great and glaring error" of giving Te Wahi Pounamu as the Maori name of the South Island;" I do this the more especially as its true and proper name was early given correctly by Cook himself. Its old name was Te Wai Pounamu, or Te Moana Pounamu, meaning the 'water in which the greenstone dwelt'; for with them the greenstone (their greatest valuable) was a living being, and dwelt in the waters of the South Island, whence it was obtained by the northern Maoris (through barter) at great trouble and expense, and believed to be only caught at certain seasons, and then only by the powerful use of many prayers," &c.

In an account of an exploring trip to the west coast of the South Island, made in 1857 by Mr. Harper, occurs a statement to the effect that the natives of the coast were still in the habit of bartering greenstone for such supplies as they needed—i.e., blankets, tobacco, &c.—taking the stone north, and disposing of it to the natives of the Nelson district.

In the account of Crozet's Voyage (1771-72) occur a few remarks on nephrite: "Although it appears that jade is very common in New Zealand, for the savages have nearly all tomahawks, chisels, engraved images, and ear-ornaments made thereof, yet I was not able to see the place where they obtain it. I do not know whether they find it in the rivers, like pebbles, or whether nature has placed it in quarries. This jade is of a beautiful semi-transparent green, and of a deeper hue than that of the jade known to other parts of the world; sparkling pieces are sometimes found, which are of a very pleasing variant colour. The New-Zealanders carve all their implements with jade, which is one of the hardest stones."

It is not clear as to whether Crozet applied the term "tomahawk" to the mere and patu or to adzes, but most likely it was the former.

Thomson, in his "Story of New Zealand" vol. i, page 7, a work published in 1859, gives a note concerning Te Wai Pounamu that evidently was a native account: "In the centre of the Middle Island (now called the South Island) are tablelands and several extensive lakes; one, called Te Wai Pounamu, is said to be of a green colour, with greenstone rocks forming its banks."

On the map of New Zealand given in Polack's "Manners and Customs of the New-Zealanders," Te Wai Pounamu is marked as a lake in the south-eastern part of the South Island; but as Port Nicholson seems to be located at the Patea River on the same map we need not worry about the still undiscovered greenstone lake.

page 183

In Lieutenant McDonnell's Chart of New Zealand, 1834, the "Lake of Greenstone" is located north of Port Otago.

Major Heaphy states that the mode of searching for the nephrite is by examining the bed of the Arahura River after a flood. Thus they find boulders or fragments brought down by the flood-waters. As Mr. Chapman puts it, "On the subsidence of the water the natives wade about searching for it in the bed of the river, and the heightened colour of the stone in the water soon reveals it to them." This latter remark explains a line in an old song collected from the Tuhoe folk. Mention is made of searching for nephrite in water: "A ka kitea i reira, e tuhi ana, e rapa ana" an allusion to its being found by means of its gleaming appearance.

It is not easy for us to realize the value placed upon nephrite by the Maori. On account of its toughness and hardness, no other stone obtainable by them would carry so keen and thin an edge. Moreover, it was and still is highly prized on account of its appearance. They have many special names for it, which are applied to specimens according to their colour and appearance, as will be seen anon.* It was worked up not only into tools and weapons, but also into ornaments and pendants of divers forms. Such weapons and ornaments were of great value among the natives. They were in many cases heirlooms, handed down from one generation to another, and in many cases had special names assigned to them. They were also, when old specimens, termed and treated as oha, or loved relics, keepsakes, or mementos of tribal elders and progenitors long gone to the underworld.

When Ihenga found the hidden nephrite ornament Kaukau-matua, his uncle Kahu greeted it with tears and words of affection, as related in Shortland's "Maori Religion and Mythology."

Speaking of a rakau pounamu, or nephrite weapon, the mere of the North Island, Shortland says, "This weapon is to the natives as great a treasure as any of the most precious stones are to us. It is thought worthy to be distinguished by a name, as was King Arthur's sword, and is handed down, an heirloom, from father to son."

Mr. Chapman mentions another such weapon of nephrite, named Te Inu-toto (The Blood-drinker), that was handed to Major Mair at O-te-nuku, Ruatoki, in 1869, by Kereru and Ngakorau,

* Presumably green is a favourite colour of the Maori. Forster, in speaking of the beads given in barter to the people of divers islands, says, "It is, however, remarkable that in Tahiti those which were white and transparent were preferred; in the Friendly Islands the black beads were in high esteem; and green ear-rings and green or red glass buttons were most eagerly sought after in New Zealand. Each of these nations had therefore a peculiar taste."

page 184of the Tuhoe Tribe, to cement the making of peace with the Government.*

Numberless other such famous named nephrite implements might be mentioned. Hau-kapua was a nephrite mere (weapon) taken by Himiona te Pikikotuku from Rua-tahuna to Rotorua in 1869 as a "cementer" of peace. A firm, enduring, and formal peacemaking between two hostile tribes is termed a tatau pounamu by the Matatua tribes of the Bay of Plenty district.

Mr. C. O. Davis, in his "Maori Mementos," gives the names of some old nephrite ornaments that were presented to Governor Grey in the "fifties" of last century. These items were Tuohungia, Whatitiri, Kai-tangata, Te Pirau, and Kaukau-matua, all of which were pendants, each having its distinctive name. Some details of interest anent these items are given. For instance, the first-named one was made from a piece of a slab of nephrite that bore the same name, Tuohungia, about the year 1700. It was a very highly prized heirloom. After having been lost for some time, it was found, and " The people gathered round to weep over it, their wild lamentations resounding through the woods…. It was arrayed in the choicest vestments, and carried off with solemn pomp to Te Whero-whero, the Waikato chief. At a public exhibition of Tuohungia there was a considerable concourse of persons, who, as a great favour, were permitted to gaze on this bequeathment of their forefathers. A loud and long mourning ensued, after which the almost deified heirloom was placed in the safe custody of Ta Kerei te Rau."

Cruise, in his "Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand" (1823), speaks of the way in which the nephrite weapons (mere) were valued: "The chief had a remarkably handsome green mere, which some one had asked him on a former occasion to sell, but which he declined to part with for any remuneration. This kind of mere is highly prized in families; and, venal as most New-Zealanders are, they seldom can be induced to dispose of such an heirloom. When we arrived at his hut he took out the valued piece of antiquity, and, remarking to the commander of the schooner what a handsome one it was, he burst into tears, and exclaimed, "If you bring my son back safe this mere shall be yours."

* This implement, Te Inu-toto, was not apparently a weapon of much note, as Kereru's brother, Numia, does not recognise the name. Te Piki Mikaere, of Tuhoer states that no weapon of mana of that name is known among the tribe. The donor, he says, was not Kereru, but Te Haunui. Te Piki was standing by when the presentation was made, and says that Te Haunui came forward with two patu suspended from his shoulders, one under each arm. One was a greenstone mere, the other a. patu onewa, the latter being presented to the representative of the Government as a maunga rongo, or token of peacemaking.

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When Ngati-Mutunga deserted their homes at Te Whanganui-a-tara (Port Nicholson) and migrated to the Chathams, as related by Wakefield, they received from Te Whare-pouri certain nephrite implements as a consideration: "Before they departed, Pomare, their head chief, formally ceded the place to Whare-pouri in exchange for some clubs of greenstone, or mere pounamu."

In the "Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition," by Charles Wilkes, the author gives some account of the value placed by the Maori on nephrite, and ornaments made of the same. Speaking of the natives of the Bay of Islands (in the year 1840), he says: "Around the necks of the chiefs and their wives is hung the heitiki, made of a stone of a green colour, which is held very sacred, and which, with their meara (mere), a, short cleaver or club, is handed down from father to son. The heitiki has some resemblance to a human figure, sitting with crossed legs. This stone is procured from the Southern Island, near the borders of a small lake, which receives its name from the stone, being called Te Wai Pounamu, or The Greenstone Water. From the name of this stone, Cook, by mistake, gave the name of Tovy Poenammoo to the Southern Island. It was a long time before Pomare would consent to his wife parting with the heitiki which she wore, and that belonging to himself (his atua) he would not allow us to take off his neck, even to look at." The author was mistaken in thinking that the heitiki was looked upon as an atua (god), or the representation of such.

These heitiki that were so difficult to make and so highly prized were worn by women only, save in certain rare cases wherein a man's near female relatives were all dead, or at least such of them as were entitled to wear this emblematical ornament. This item, it is believed, represented the human foetus, and was supposed to possess an inherent fructifying influence when worn by women. This statement has been made by several natives, also by Colonel Gudgeon, Captain G. Mair, and Mr. T. E. Green, all good authorities on matters pertaining to the Maori.

A curious form of ornament delineated in John White's illustrations is termed a tiki popohe. Mr. White explains that these items were simply crude or unfinished heitiki, made by persons who were not expert enough to finish them properly.

Ornaments made of nephrite were to the Maori what jewels are to us. They were always worn when any function was in progress. In his "Story of New Zealand" vol. i, page 118, Thomson says, "Before a child was a month old, often before it was ten days, its head was adorned with feathers, all the family greenstones page 186were hung about it, and it was rolled up in a mat (cloak) and carried to the side of a stream (where the iriiri rite, one of baptism and of naming, was performed over it)."

When Captain Cook was lying at Poverty Bay a native was induced to sell a nephrite weapon (mere) by the display of European and other goods. In his Journal, Sir Joseph Banks mentions this incident: " Many presents were given to them, notwithstanding which they very quickly sold almost everything that they had with them, even their clothes from their backs and the paddles out of their boats … One sold his patoopatoo, a short weapon of green talc."

At another time Banks says, "One produced an axe of talc and offered it for cloth; it was given, and the canoe immediately put off with it."

Various authorities state that greenstone is found in many parts of the world, as China, Central Asia, New Caledonia, Egypt, Corsica, the Hartz, Mexico, Norton Sound, Louisiade Archipelago. In some of the countries mentioned nephrite is certainly not found.

As writers use different terms, as nephrite, jade, and greenstone, it is quite probable that some of the places mentioned do not possess the same stone as is found in New Zealand. We read that nephrite or jadeite implements are found in North America. A writer in the " Report of the Bureau of Ethnology," 1881-82, states that there is a mine of it near Norton Sound, and that it is much valued, but that it is not found in middens or tombs, being possibly considered too valuable.

Mr. Julian Thomas, in his "Cannibals and Convicts," 1886, states that in the Island of Tanna, New Hebrides, he found "Specimens of a rock which I took to be the same as the New Zealand greenstone. The natives made charms out of it, as in Maoriland." Again, he says " Old ladies had the national long grass petticoat, and round their necks were slung pieces of greenstone, honoured heirlooms, which like the Maoris, they much valued."

Thomson, in his "Story of New Zealand," vol. i, page 140, says, " The greenstone composing these implements is called nephrite by mineralogists, and is found in the Middle (South) Island of New Zealand, in the Hartz, Corsica, China, and Egypt. The most valuable kind is clear as glass, with a slight green tinge." It is, however, stated by later writers that nephrite is not found in Europe or Egypt, the nearest known source of supply to those countries being north of Cashmere.

Max Muller, in his "Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryans," 1888, states, "Jade celts are very rare, few and far between,page 187from Mesopotamia to Brittany, and they evince the passion of every race of mankind for the possession of greenstones as objects endowed with an intrinsic preciousness." He seemed to believe that it was not found in Europe and some other lands, or it would have been more common. "One does, indeed, see a small jade celt, once worn in a necklace by a Greek girl … as a talisman probably … but it is a celt, not an article of Roman workmanship. One single cylinder among the hundreds of Assyrian and Babylonian cylinders in the same great repository (the British Museum) attests the exceptional character of jade amongst the people who inhabited Mesopotamia, where, however, jade celts have been found of still older date. But among the numerous materials of Egyptian ornamental and sacred art, jade is, I believe, unknown. There is no evidence that Greeks or Romans ever employed jade, or had even a name for it. Had it been a product of the rivers or the quarries of the Roman world specimens of it would certainly have survived as the material of gems, or in some other form of art…. It may seem a startling proposition to maintain that the jade-mines of the Kara Kash River … north of the mountains of Cashmere, should have been the source of the jade celts found over the whole of Europe. The difficulty of believing this seemed all the greater for that, while white as well as green jade may be quarried there, it was only the green jade, and not the white, which thus permeated the prehistoric world…. No unworked jade has ever been found in Europe."

It has lately been stated that jade has been discovered in Silesia.

In his work on "Prehistoric Art," published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1896, Mr. T. Wilson has an interesting chapter on jadeite and nephrite implements. He gives an illustration showing eight jade axes found in Europe. These specimens are polished and well formed, seven of them being pointed at the poll. Another plate shows twenty-two specimens of American prehistoric jadeite and nephrite hatchets or axes. Many of these, to judge from a face view, resemble in form the New Zealand stone adzes. Few are pointed at the poll. The specimens came from Mexico, Guatemala, Porto Rico, &c. A few are rectangular in form. One is apparently a chisel. Another plate shows some crude nephrite axes and adzes from Alaska, also one pectolite hammer with handle attached. Lieutenant Stoney, of the United States navy, found nephrite boulders, and implements made thereof, in Alaska. Another plate shows specimens of carved, or wrought, and polished objects of jadeite and other stones from Central America. Two of these look like crude Maori heitiki, but with erect heads. Some of the objects show signs of having been sawed. Many jadeite items have been found in page 188Mexico, but none of nephrite. Jadeite implements have been found in the Swiss lake dwellings. Fibrolite, another variety of jade, is confined to southern and western France.

Mr. Thomas states that "Jadeite is found manufactured into implements of the most elaborate and difficult kind in great profusion in Mexico and Central America. Actinolite, another variety of jade … is distributed throughout the Pueblo country of New Mexico and Arizona…. Nephrite is still another specimen of jade, the component parts of which are—Silica, 56 to 58 per cent.; magnesia, 20 to 22 per cent.; lime, 11 to 14 per cent.; oxide of iron, 5 to 8 per cent.; and aluminium, 1 to 3 per cent.; with a specific gravity of 2.9 to 3. A profusion of prehistoric implements, principally axes or adzes made of nephrite, have been found from the Straits of Fuca northward along the entire coast of British Columbia and the northern end of Alaska."

Two partly worked boulders of nephrite were found on the Fraser River, British Columbia; and, says Mr. Thomas, "the discovery of unfinished objects in old Indian graves near Lytton make it certain that the manufacture of adzes had been carried on there." This writer states that the only known source of supply of nephrite in America is Jade Mountain, situated one hundred and fifty miles above the mouth of the Kowak River, in Alaska, which was discovered by Lieutenant Stoney.

In a newspaper article on jade, one E.C.S. says, "I have jade implements from Mexico and Jamaica, but these differ somewhat from the New Zealand stone. One jade axe from Japan in my collection is very remarkable; it contains beautiful green streaks, but has an admixture of white. I have many carved pieces of Chinese jade; but these vary in colour from pure white to a sort of aquamarine green, not in the least resembling the New Zealand variety."

A most interesting discovery of implements of a New Zealand form is given by Mr. Thomas at page 264 of the above-mentioned work. Two such are shown in an illustration at page 465, one of which is exactly similar to the New Zealand patu pounamu or mere of the elongated form. It is of precisely the same shape and fine finish, even to the form of the butt and the groovings thereon. The drilled hole is the same in form, and it has a wrist-cord attached. It was found attached to the wrist of a dead Ute Indian in one of the western States, California or Nevada. Other specimens have been found like the above, made of hard stone, in Mexico and the western United States.