Saturday, March 17, 2012

Discovering New Zealand: Wearing Greenstone on St. Patrick's Day

Recently I was in New Zealand and stumbled upon an amazing spot called Cathedral Cove along the Coromandal Coast (just South of Auckland). 

There are stunning views from the cliffs that curve along the coastline, and equally stunning views just walking along the beach.  

New Zealand, like much of the pacific rim, was formed by volcanos and the landscape still reflects the cones left behind albeit now covered with giant ferns and native bush.

Some of these valcanos developed huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. There are a few fissures along this coast, one of which is a unique hot water spring that gushes right at the beach. A popular activity is to dig and create your own jacuzi-like pool for the day.  Not a bad way to spend a lazy afternoon.

I also found a wonderful local gallery called Moko that specializes in Maori designs. Moko is the Maori custom of tattooing, but with special meaning. The tattoos represent the individual's ancestral links, social structure and tribal affiliations. So each tattoo is unique to the wearer. I was told that New Zealand is the most tatooed nation in the world, which did not come as a surprise.

The gallery is full of art, jewelry and unique sculptures. The set below are large cement balls resembling tennis balls, or baseballs if you prefer, with an inlay of paua shells.  
These are roughly the size of exercise balls ... certainly one of the more unique sculptures I've ever seen. I spent most of my time looking through the jewelry, and specifically the greenstone. I just can't get enough of this stone! It is a jade, but it is unique to New Zealand with deposits of black flecks that I find striking. As you might image, I did plenty of shopping while in New Zealand for beads and carvings. What self-respecting beadaholic wouldn't?  I'm wearing my greenstone today to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, New Zealand style.


Duni said...

I've always wanted to visit NZ. The lagoon looks gorgeous! The cement ball sculptures are nothing like I've seen before - amazing!!
We do not celebrate St. Patrick's Day here, but I love the colour green anyway ;-)

Therese's Treasures said...

Oh those photos of the New Zealand's coast are amazing. I can not wait til my Son is home from New Zealand on the 31st, so I can see all of the photos he took. I also gave him some money to pick me up some beads, so I also can not wait to see what beads he has picked out for me too.


Wow, beautiful! Several *months* of such lazy afternoons would be lovely..... Happy St Patrick's Day!

DeeBee L. said...

What a fantastic crick, the colour of the water is just amazing!
In fact the whole article is fascinating, the tatoos, the cement balls -what a brilliant concept- and i just realised that jade seesm to be as important in NZ as it is in China! I am sure you had a great St Patrick's day yesterday!

Miss Val's Creations said...

This landscape looks amazing! I definately need to put New Zealand on my Bucket List! Creating a jacuzzi sounds like heaven.

What an interesting fact about tattooing. I always would have thought the United States is the most tattooed since it is so popular here.

LOVE those sculptures! The paua shell must have looked amazing in person, in the sunlight!

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