Carving Greenstone Pendants in Stewart Island – Day 160, Part 1

Carve your own greenstone in Stewart Island

Today we are joining Rakiura Jade to carve our own greenstone pendants in Stewart Island! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, join our backpacker squad on YouTube!

 


Video Transcript:

Today we are making our very own jade necklaces on Stewart Island. And we’re taking a flight over to Mason Bay and we’re doing some kiwi spotting we are doing a shoot lot today, Ok?

This morning we are leaving really reluctantly the Stewart Island Backpackers and we are heading for Rakiura Jade Carving Studio where we we’re going to be meeting Dave and Bean the two carvers there. We are getting right to business with a different carving designs available including the secret carving stone.

Laura you need to make hot chocolate for Robin. Oh that is what the secret says.

Jade carving is a tradition in New Zealand where usually you gift your jade pendant to someone else and that’s exactly what we’re gonna be doing today we’re gonna be carving each other some jade pendants so the pressure is on.

After picking our jade which we’re gonna be carving, we are then doing our designs so we’re gonna be doing a more traditional design which is called a toki and this is a long chisel shape. Dave is getting rid of some of th excess on our stones then it’s time for us to start carving a luckily there is all the equipment that we need here. A lot of the grinders, sanders, and bean and dave are super helpful to make sure we are staying on track with our carving.

The first stage of the process was to cut out all the excess of our stone so we are left with exactly the amount of stone that we need to create our design. Then it’s back to the drawing board so we can actually decide what kind of shape this toki is going to have and start drawing on the stone and decide where the cut and polish needs to happen.

It’s yet under the watchful yet hilarious eye of Wharo the studio’s dog that we are moving onto the next stage of the process where we’re gonna be starting to polish.

We begin the polishing process by using huge sanding machines which get ride of a huge amount of excess on our stone leaving us with a very thin and narrow piece of stone. It is very important for us to be really careful because any slight mistakes create long lasting marks on the stone they are really small.

It’s a really laid back atmosphere here at the Rakiura Carving Studio and that just really reflects what life on Stewart Island is like. In between doing pats of carving, we’re also playing with the hilarious little dog and just the location of this studio is really amazing with windows with views looking out to beautiful ocean.

Dave’s also taking the time to tell us about the Maori legends of how greenstone is formed according to myth and legend which is actually different between Maori tribes which we had no idea about. But the main star of the show has to be Wharo the dog. We are having a ridiculous amount of fun playing with this dog who just looks unimpressed the whole time but so hilarious. But anyway we are moving onto the next stage of the carving which is gonna be hand sanding and doing the more intricate details of our toki pendants.

This is really the tricky part of the carving. This is when we’re gonna give the ultimate shape to that stone. Right now we are having a rough rock and we want to turn it into an awesome jewellery and Laura and I are taking that really seriously we’re super focussed on what we’re doing and Dave has noticed that so he’s coming to relax us by reading us a little bit of poetry while we’re working it’s a really awesome way to clear our minds.

So my work has just been inspected and I graduate to the white one I’ve done red I’ve done yellow now I’m moving onto white. With a special singe in there. Yes, that is done on purpose. Cos I’m an artist. I’m creative. Now Laura’s gonna be inspected and we’re gonna see…. No pressure, Laura. Wow, he didn’t do that to mine.

After completing the final touches of our sanding we are then piercing a whole through the jade so that we are able to put a piece of rope through it and actually make it into a necklace. And then we have a well deserved break which is having a look at the different types of jade you can get around New Zealand and Dave is showing us a few tricks on how to show its true colour.

The final stage is braiding the string for the necklace which Dave shows us a very complicated way of braiding with two people at a time so it takes is a little while to get the hang of it but we become braiding masters toward the end. But thankfully, dave is doing the more complicated part of bringing this whole necklace together.

The end result looks awesome. We can’t believe we carved these jade necklaces ourselves and we are going to be wearing these proudly for the rest of our trip. We are super stoked about what we just created.

Alright so we just done carving our own jade necklace. We went with some very traditional shape for this time and yeah they look actually stunning. they look very traditional and much more polished than what we’ve done before you can see the experience. So this is what Laura has done for me and this is what Robin has done for me. they’re really nice. So now we’re going back to the hostel we’re going to prepare for an epic adventure that is awaiting us tonight.

So we are in front of the only hotel and pub in Stewart Island we have our huge bags packed and we are now waiting for Anna which she’s gonna come pick us up we can take the plane for a lovely sunset flight across the island all the way to Mason Bay where we’re gonna hunt for kiwi birds. We’re not gonna kill them we’re just gonna take pictures of them but pretty keen.

Don’t miss the part 2 of our awesome day right here on Stewart Island where we’re gonna be heading to the complete other side of Stewart Island by plane and we’re gonna be landing on the beach, we’re gonna try to find some kiwi birds in the dark we’re gonna have an awesome evening.

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