Definition of pounamu in English:



mass nounNZ
  • A variety of jade; greenstone.

    as modifier ‘pounamu pendants’
    • ‘When my own parents-in-law were down in the Arahura Valley, on the West Coast, where pounamu is gathered, they were denied access one time, when they were just wanting to take a stroll along the river.’
    • ‘Are we really depriving them of their treaty rights with respect to pounamu by saying that they cannot take pounamu, or greenstone, from these eight little marine reserves in Fiordland?’
    • ‘Then Maori used it, extensively, in regular migrations, and as a portage route for pounamu.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, the deep green of pounamu marks the sources of greenstone, and silver and greys are deployed in a startling evocation of mist and spume.’
    • ‘The pair were charged with stealing pounamu, or greenstone, a neglected treasure fused into fissures of southern mountains.’


Mid 19th century: from Maori.