Aotea, a unique treasure of Te Tai Poutini

In 2014, SIC sourced and sold 15 pendants of Aōtea a rare blue-green stone comprising a mix of Kyanite/Fuchsite in Quartz. to an eager fan base. We could not believe the demand for the tāonga but in our quest to uncover a sAotea2_edited-1upply source we also unearthed a beautiful tale of provenance and vision.

Aōtea is rarer than Pounamu, but has a similar origin being formed deep in the Earth’s crust.

 In July 2015, we wrote about Aōtea (Kyanite Fuchsite) which is only found around the Makaawhio area (Jacobs River) and is a treasured tāonga of kaitiaki, Kāti Mahaki.   What we didn’t say is that Kāti Māhaki are a group of whānau (grouped under Makaawhio Rūnanga) who trace their connection with the Jacobs River and the surrounding area, back hundreds of years and they are now working to protect Aōtea.

Makaawhio Rūnanga have an exclusive mining licence and following the Ngāi Tahu Treaty Claim, now own the Jacobs River bed. In 2015, Makaawhio placed a Rāhui (stop) on the sale of Aōtea to prevent people from taking, selling or tradig the tāonga.

SIC has been working with Makaawhio Rūnanga and GNS Science to develop a project to ascertain the natural sources of the stone, its occurrence, how much exists, and to develop a plan for the sustainable management (which includes harvesting and sale). We are really excited to share that in June 2016, the Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) decided to support the Makaawhio vision for their tāonga, by awarding a Vision Mātauranga Connect grant, which will support GNS Science and the rūnanga work to better understand and manage Aōtea.

Here is the link to the wonderful news and congratulations to Kara, Paul, Susan and all ofthe Kāti Māhaki whānui.

We look forward to learning more about this beguiling, rare illusive stone and (we hope) trading Aōtea in the futureNew Aotea