Pounamu a treasure (taonga) has forever been held in high regard by the New Zealand Maori, in particular the Poutini Ngai Tahu of the west coast (Te Tai Poutini).
It has high spiritual significance and is worn in remembrance of passed ancestors (tupuna) where the tiki is often regarded as holding the power (mana) of the previous owners.
Hei Taringa, Hei Matau
Maori wore pounamu as part of their daily dress in the form of earings (hei taringa) including kuru a long narrow style shaped like whitebait (inanga) a juvenile fish,a hole bored at the top doubled as an eye also as an attachment for a suspension cord. The kapeu form is much the same but is curved at the bottom similar to the shape of a hockey stick. Pendants including fish hook styles (hei matau) were worn and were no doubt handy for the catching of food (kai) when travelling.
The Maori fashioned pounamu into tools such as chisels for carving and the adze (toki). These tools were used for the building and decorating of canoes (waka) and houses (whare).
Pounamu was also used to make weapons the most notable being the mere, or club.
A spatulate form of club used in close combat in an upward jabbing motion,it was often a symbol of rank and was regarded as the most valuable possesion a warrior could own.