Pounamu carved during a Community Work Invercargill courseIn early October, Community Work Invercargill facilitated a pounamu/greenstone carving course for men and women on a community work sentence as part of the Work and Living Skills component of their sentence.

“The aim of the pounamu carving course was to provide learning opportunities for people in our care that will enhance their existing skills and develop new ones,” explains Probation Officer Carol Haig.

“This course aligns with the intent of Hōkai Rangi in our commitment to do better for people in our care. It has cultural relevance for the people on sentence, as well as teaching the art of pounamu carving and giving some people the opportunity to reconnect with their whakapapa.”

Carol says the activity was incredibly positive for participants. “It was evident those attending the course definitely made connection through working with the pounamu and interacting with tutor Gavin Thomson throughout the day, as he shared his experiences of sourcing pounamu and working with it.

“Everyone asked if they could participate again,” she says. “It was heartening to see they all had a purpose for gifting their pounamu to a child or whānau. One wāhine was making her pounamu for her son’s grave.”

At the end of the session a participant on community work sentence stood and thanked Gavin on behalf of the group, and mentioned how much they appreciated his time and skill and that they would take a lot away from the experience.

Murihiku Pounamu is a whānau/family owned and run business based in Gore, run by Gavin and Jess Crawford. They create Māori-inspired pounamu jewellery. Gavin is of Waitaha, Rapuwai, Kati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu descent, which he uses as inspiration for both carving and teaching.


Passing on the art of pounamu carving


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