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New Zealand – from Cape Rēinga to the Bluff

Since I wrote my blog on Marlborough to you a wee while ago I have had many requests for information about our beautiful country. So I thought I would tell you a little story about some of my most favourite places in New Zealand and the unique Ariki New Zealand Jewellery pieces inspired by this majestic country.

New Zealand – from Cape Rēinga to the Bluff
Image by Alistair McLellan from Pixabay

Let me start with the very tip of the North Island of New Zealand, Cape Rēinga. Here, at the top of the country, you can witness a rare and powerful thing – the meeting of two bodies of water, the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The tides race each other in a display of awesome ocean strength as you stand on the bluff, buffeted by the inevitable breeze and wowed by the beauty of this spot.

Cape Rēinga

The native New Zealand people Māori believe that in mythology, their spirits travel to Cape Rēinga on a final journey to the afterlife. Therefore, Cape Rēinga is said to be the most sacred place in New Zealand.

I have felt a special energy and spiritual significance whenever I have visited this spectacular place just by standing in the buffeting wind gazing out into the frenetic ocean.
The piece of Ariki New Zealand Jewellery which reminds me of this special place whenever I wear it is:

Waves Pendant – GP504/PO504

There is nothing as incredibly beautiful as the waves of an ocean breaking onto the shore signifying the unstoppable strength of nature. Just like these waves this stunning piece of jewellery is rippling and curved in shape – showing beautiful lines that swirl around the gorgeous cabochon framing it perfectly.

Paua Waves Pendant - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

The legend of how the Paua got its shell

I was sitting at my desk today admiring a particularly beautiful piece of Ariki New Zealand jewellery – the colours of the cabochon shone and sparkled in the light as the beautiful autumn sunshine streamed through my office window, changing from blues and greens to pinks and purples as I turned jewellery piece to different angles. Movement makes the colours dance like sunlight on crystal clear water.
It reminded me of a most beautiful story I had recently come across which written by a New Zealand author and I just had to share it with you!
It tells the story of how our beloved Paua Shell came to have the most colourful and vibrant colours that we see in our jewellery today.

Tangaroa and the Paua

The myths and legends of New Zealand’s earliest inhabitants, the Māori tell us that once, in the days of old, Paua had no shell.
In Māori mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the sea. He is a son of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Sky and Earth.
Tangaroa, god of the sea, saw the difficulties that this created for Paua and decided to create something special for him. He said:
“I will take from my domain the coolest blues of the ocean. And ask of my brother Tane the freshest greens of the forest. From the dawn you shall have a tinge of violet. From the sunset a blush of pink. And overall there will be a shimmer of mother of pearl”.

With this, Tangaroa fashioned for Paua a wonderful coat that sparkled and dazzled with its beauty. But it was fragile and soon broken by those sea creatures who were envious of Paua’s new appearance. Tangaroa saw this, so he strengthened the shell with many layers of the coolest blues of the ocean, the freshest greens of the forest, the violet of the dawn and the pink of the sunset. Finally he added a camouflage coat to enable Paua to blend in with the drab greys and browns of the rocks. Tangaroa then charged Paua with the life-long task of adding layer upon delicate layer, each a different hue and blend.

So it was that Paua got his shell. He hugs the secret of his inner beauty to himself and only at the end of his life, when his empty shell washes ashore, is his artistry revealed.
To me this is the essence of our beautiful Ariki New Zealand Jewellery. A unique piece of New Zealand to be hugged close and treasured for over a lifetime.

The colours of the Paua Shell never cease to amaze me – each and every one is different and unique. Hand crafted by nature to show the most amazing and dazzling colours from our world into one precious creation.

And I am so proud of the fact we here at Ariki New Zealand take this creation and make it even more precious. Hand crafting each and every unique New Zealand jewellery piece to capture the Paua Shell beauty in its full glory and honouring Tangaroa the god who provided us with this treasure.

Waikawa

I recently produced the art work above to honour this special place and incorporated some of our very precious and unique Paua Shell into the design to represent the sea.
I am also proud to be involve in the exclusive and important part that Ariki New Zealand play in the history of our island paradise and showcasing the unique Paua Shell Jewellery to the world.

Filigree Hook Pendant

GP553/PO553

The beautiful kowhaiwhai or scroll like patterns on this classic fish hook pendant are designed to represent the importance and significance of family, relationships and connections.
To New Zealand’s native people the Maori, The fish hook symbol is said to represent prosperity and safe travel over water.
Our clever designers have incorporated both the kowhaiwhai filigree and fish hook motif into this one design.

To me the gorgeous Paua Shell Cabochon on this piece also perfectly captures the colours of the sea surrounding our island paradise country.
Traditionally Maori were very reliant on the bounty they caught from the sea to survive. It constituted a large amount of their daily food needs and with it Maori flourished as a people. Maori had a very strong connection to Tangaroa, god of the sea and attributed this abundance to him.

Fish Hook Pendants

I can only guess, but think that because of the strong connection to Tangaroa, wearing a fish hook over water would ensure safe passage because it shows a level of respect to Tangaroa for the bounty he provided.

The Kowhaiwhai pattern itself is stylised on the Koiri traditional Maori pattern which means to flourish.
I wear this special unique time honoured New Zealand Jewellery piece to signify my special connection to the sea by which I live and the abundance of sea food or Kaimoana that my Maori neighbours so generously provide.

Filigree Hook Pendant GP553

Matariki

Matariki is the name the Native New Zealand People, Māori give to a cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. Every winter the rising of the stars of Puaka (Puanga) and Matariki herald the end of the lunar year and the start of the next within the Māori World.

Traditionally Māori viewed the rising of Matariki as the time to farewell those who have passed in the previous year, celebrate the arrival of the New Year and prepare for the coming year in the custom of the local people. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.

Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
Matariki, or Māori New Year celebrations are very popular. It is a time for honouring the ‘New Zealand Thanksgiving’. A special feature of Matariki celebrations is the flying of kites – according to ancient custom they flutter close to the stars.

The stars have always been a large part of Māori life. Planting, hunting, harvesting, gathering and navigation were all guided by the stars. Over the past twenty years there has been a rejuvenation in these practices. Māori have turned back to traditional practices guided by the stars.

Star Stud Earrings

I would like to honour this age old tradition myself by telling you a little about our special pieces of unique New Zealand Jewellery in our range which are stylised on cosmic influences.

PE215/PE115 – Star Stud Earrings
JE215 Star Stud Earrings – Greenstone

The cold clear crisp winters nights here in New Zealand means it is the perfect time for star-gazing. Dark, clear skies; unique celestial features and otherworldly landscapes make stargazing in New Zealand a breathtakingly magical experience.

Star Stud Earrings PE215 Star Stud Earrings (Jade) JE215

In the heart of the South Island the sky is so clear and vast that millions of stars seem to appear right before your eyes.

Unique to the Mackenzie Region, the clear skies found in this part of the world are like nothing else in New Zealand. Very limited light pollution means the views of the night sky seem to stretch on as far as the eye can see.

In 2012, the 4300 square kilometre area was declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, with light pollution strictly controlled in the area. It is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only eight in the world. It has been labelled as one of the best stargazing sites on earth.

I have been lucky enough to visit this region and seeing this sky through a telescope was an experience unlike any other. Keen stargazers in this region see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way
The absolute best place to observe the celestial fireworks of a meteor shower is Lake Tekapo in the South Island of New Zealand. This idyllic lake side town can boast one of the darkest and starriest night sky’s in the world. Tens of thousands of people flock here annually to see the southern stars and transient phenomena such as aurorae, meteor showers and the zodiacal light in all their pristine glory.
I urge you all to the time to look up, study the galaxies and stars, and feel connected to the awesome history of the universe.
My delicate wee Star Stud earrings always sparkle and shimmer like these stars when I wear them and remind me of the truly precious and unique experience I had star gazing in the Mackenzie region.

 

Meanings Behind Maori Pendant Designs

Koru (Jade) - NZ Design Pendant ZGP14

Broad strong strokes of paint on a scroll or rich blue-black ink patterns gleaming under the skin’s surface, Maori designs command attention in each and every form they take. Before the adoption of written word, Maori tribe’s people utilised materials like bone, wood, stone and jade.

A large number of the etchings represent aspects of the origin of mankind, how the animals came into existence and how sacred the relationship between nature and man is.

The deep respect that the Maori have for nature is evident in their preservation of classic tribal designs. The intricate swoops and spheres communicate ancient tribal tales dating back generations and are often worn in the form of pendants.

Ariki Jewellery uses Nephrite Jade and Paua for pendant designs, such as:

  • Koru or Spiral Design: The Koru or spiral design represents a fresh fern frond as it unfolds. As the frond unravels, the Maori believe it unleashes its purity out into the world. Growth, peace, tranquility and new beginnings are also associated with the Koru pendant design.
  • Circle Design: The Circle design invokes imagery of the Circle of Life, endless and without any defined beginning or end. The seamless movement of the planets and the stars above are represented by the circle etching. There is a mutual existence in which all beings, humans, plants and animals, share a sacred bond.
  • Twist Design: In Maori culture the twist represents the concept of eternity, with each twist portraying the various paths an individual takes in the pursuit of love and life. If one chooses to gift a friend or loved one with a single twist jade pendant, they are emphasising the deep eternal bond the duo shares in friendship, love and loyalty.

Other traditional representations of Maori culture a in jewellery design include the depiction of sea creatures like turtles, whales and dolphins.

As a New Zealand Jewellery firm, Ariki Jewellery specialises in the use of stones and shells like Greenstone or Nephrite Jade and Paua Shell.