iHub is more than an information centre for visitors to the Raglan. It is a destination for anyone looking to buy that special gift that reflects the local community and its surrounds.
One of the local artisans displaying their work is Malcolm Cox who is a skilled stone carver based in Raglan. Although he doesn’t consider himself to be a master carver, he loves the form and culture around the various types of stone he uses. The result being beautiful pieces from stone that can be local or, if using one of the rarer sorts, the West Coast.
Malcom explained that the stone we know as pounamu was called greenstone by Captain Cook and is the form that is used for tool making due to its hardness. It was the steel of the stone age. Not all pounamu is dark green as demonstrated by some of Malcolm’s examples. A beautiful example was a translucent piece carved from a kind called tangiwai.
Māori used this type purely for ornamental purposes. He has used a lighter green form called kokopu that has dark spots sprinkled through it looking like a native trout. It is this resemblance that gave this type of nephrite its name. Another called Raukaraka has yellow and orange hues that blend into greens. This stone shares its name with the Karaka tree due to those orange colours.
Locally Māori used Onewa Stone which is a type of New Zealand Basalt. Although it is dark grey in appearance, a closer look displays tiny dots of green known as olivine. An interesting fact was that Mata means (amongst other things) flint, quartz, obsidian, or the softer version chert. Hence the local name Te Mata represents the stone used locally by Māori at the time.
Malcolm values iHub collaborating with local artisans. Visitors and residents alike can appreciate the works and find out more by visiting the Museum next door where the stories behind some of the pieces displayed are expanded. In the case of the carvings, the tools traditionally used by Māori are on display along with more about the culture of the area.
You can find out more details about Malcolm and his work by visiting iHub 7 days a week between the hours of 10.00am and 3.00pm.
Story Liz Yorston
Photo credit Shelley Rikys