This is, for all intents and purposes, ground zero for the mining and crafting of New Zealand pounamu. Here, on the west coast of the South Island, the Arahura River is where New Zealand greenstone was born. As a result, there are many skilled artists and carvers and shops to be found in the main town in this area called Hokitika. As well as being able to pick up a nice item carved from the good green stuff, you can take tours, visit the information centre to gain more of an insight into the birth of this cultural phenomenon, watch carvers at work and quiz them on what they’re up to, and even carve a piece of greenstone yourself. As Hokitika is the biggest full-on beach town on the west coast, you have all the amenities you could wish, as well as being able to fossick around on the beach to see if you can find your own piece of NZ jade that’s been washed down from the hills.
Westland Greenstone 34 Tancred Street, Hokitika, +64 3-755 8713