jade warrior The Bone Art Place

Hand carved Bone, Jade, Wood & Pearl shell pendants, carvings, gifts & art
from New Zealand & the Pacific



New Zealand, The Maori People And Their Bone Artwork.

New Zealand  

New Zealand (Aotearoa)

The very big little country.

New Zealand (Aotearoa) is a small country way down in the South Pacific but with a huge heart and variety in both culture and land.

New Zealand is a land of immense and diverse landscapes. You’ll see things here that you will not see –in the same country – anywhere else in the world. Within a day or two’s drive you can see spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches. Much of these landscapes are protected by National Parks with thousands of kilometres of walks and trails opening their beauty to the public. ref NZ 100% Pure Web Site

As the Lonely Planet guide puts it: Lonely Planet Guide to New Zealand
"There’s a reason the sun shines on New Zealand before anywhere else – every new day in Aotearoa is something to cherish! Small, remote and thinly populated, yes, but NZ punches well above its weight with its outlandish scenery, fabulous festivals, superb food and wine, and magical outdoor experiences. Equally impressive is NZ’s potent, mainstream Maori culture. This is a country that recognises and celebrates its indigenous people – the world is a kinder, gentler, more respectful place down here"

Glenorchy - New Zealand
Glenorchy near Queenstown - South Island - New Zealand

New Zealand Maori Art and Craft:

The pre-European Maori had no written language so tribal history was kept using many forms of fine arts and crafts ranging from basket and cloth weaving to complex wood, bone and jade carving.
These artifact were then handed down through generations of tribal elders and became sacred objects, telling the history of a tribe and taking on the spirits of past great leaders and warriors who had worn them. Pendants, jewelry and various tools such as needles, spear tips and fish hooks made from bone developed into a fine art form with great importance being placed on every piece, many of which took years to make using stone tools. Some have inlays of precious stones or colourful shell and all have a story or meaning behind their design.

Bone carving is a traditional and often sacred craft practiced by some of the more warlike native tribes around the world. Bone carvings by the New Zealand Maori are some of the most beautiful wearable art works available today and come in a wide variety of styles from very traditional pieces to the more contemporary or modern styles.

New Zealand Maori Tiki
New Zealand Maori Fish Hook
New Zealand Maori Taniwha

Jade Matau Sculpture
Jade Twist by Kerry Thompson
New Zealand Jade manaia carvings
New Zealand Jade Matau

New Zealand Maori Pekapeka

New Zealand Maori TekoTeko
New Zealand Maori Pakati
New Zealand Maori Fighting Club

A Very Short History of New Zealand:

New Zealand is a group of Islands in the South Pacific which were discovered and settled by the Maori people in around 700AD.
The first Polynesian colonists who are the ancestors of the Maori, were skilled sea people and fishermen. They traveled across the ocean in canoes from around the Cook Islands and found a temperate land of mountains, waterfalls, great lakes abundant wildlife and a bountiful coastline.

The Maori name for New Zealand is "Aotearoa" meaning The Land of the Long White Cloud which is the first thing the weary travelers noticed as they approached land.

In 1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered Aotearoa but didn't stop for long after several of his crew being killed and eaten by the Maori. He named the country Niuew Zeeland, after the Netherlands province of Zeeland and this name has been kept as the European name ever since.
In 1769 British Captain Cook rediscovered New Zealand and from then on European settlers started to arrive but there were a few "issues" with the local Maori not being overly happy about their land being taken for farming etc so fighting erupted and culminated in the Maori wars.
In 1838 a treaty was finally signed and fighting stopped beginning the development of the multi cultural society we have today.

Maori Carvings - New Zealand

The Maori People:Meeting House - Waitangi - New Zealand

The New Zealand Maori Tribes settled New Zealand nearly a thousand years before the white man (Pakeha) arrived in their tall ships.
They had themselves also come by sea, paddling and sailing their long canoes from the far away Pacific islands.
Those that survived the journey were a very fierce and warring group of tribes who quickly settled into their new home, living in large fortified villages called Pa's.
These, like medieval castles had lookout towers, high spiked wooden walls and lethal traps around the perimeter which could hold off even very formidable forces.
The British troops later found out just how effective these fortifications were and also how fierce the Maori warriors were in battle.

Maori Legend – The creation of New Zealand:

After the creation of the world the god Tane mahuta had created a woman out of red earth, breathed life into her nostrils, mated with her and had a daughter, who also became his wife and bore him other daughters.

Later the demigod Maui, who lived in Hawaiki, went out fishing with his brothers a very long way out to sea. Maui took out his magic fish-hook (the jaw of his sorcerer grandmother), tied it to a strong rope and then dropped it over the side of the canoe.
Soon he caught an immense fish and after an epic struggle pulled it up. This fish became the North Island of New Zealand, called by the ancient Maori Te ika a Maui (the fish of Maui) or sometimes Te ikaroa a Maui (the big fish of Maui). The Mahia Peninsula, at the north end of Hawke Bay on the east coast of the North Island, was known as Te matau a Maui (the fish-hook of Maui), since it was the hook with which he caught the giant fish.
The South Island was known as Te waka a Maui, or the canoe of Maui, in which he was sitting when he caught the fish. Kaikoura Peninsula, on the north-east coast of the South Island, was the seat of the canoe.
Another name for the South Island was Te wai Pounamu (the water greenstone), since much greenstone (jade, or pounamu) was found in the rivers there.
Stewart Island, south of the South Island, was known as Te punga a Maui (the anchor of Maui). It was the anchor that held the canoe as Maui hauled in the giant fish.





Westport - New Zealand
Haast - New Zealand
Goat Island Reserve - New Zealand
Lake Wanaka - New Zealand
Tolaga Bay - New Zealand

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© The Bone Art Place 2008