Craft Resources
Materials and Inspirations for New Zealand Arts and Crafts

Craft resources to create and design New Zealand arts and crafts find their origin in a rich stock on unique natural materials and shapes found on land and sea. Mix these resources with a portion of traditional craft and mythology, multicultural influence, contemporary innovation, and modern technology to get something uniquely New Zealand.

Look out at Arataki Centre, with carving
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Gifts from the sea

Mother of pearl and paua shells, both take a strong stand under New Zealand jewellery. Meanwhile human innovation helped the occasionally found paua pearl on its way to become a more readily available treasure.

The two sea mammals, dolphins, and whales often have high entertainment value especially on discovery tours out in the open sea. Their spiritual relation to the Maori people goes deeper. Legends tell that whales guided and protected their ancestors on their journey to Aotearoa. Others refer to individuals that rode whales back to the mainland when trapped on an island or going overboard on a fishing trip. Bone carvings of whales and dolphins commemorate this protective bond.

dolphins

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Land provided art and craft resources are:

A stone treasured higher than gold in Maori tradition is punamou. Common names are New Zealand jade or greenstone.

The stone was difficult to claim and hard to work, crafted items like axes and clubs became trading objects and a measure of wealth. Greenstone jewellery was and still is important history carrier as family heirlooms.

Craft resources retrieved of NZ’s vegetation are flax, wood, and shapes for innovative designs.

Flax the first material used to clothe indigenous people still holds a central position in Maori cultural identity. Therefore traditional Maori carvings are often presented in ketes woven of New Zealand flax.

Three ketes of knowledge woven of flax are connected to the beginning of Maori. The first one was filled with the knowledge of memory, prayer, and ritual. The second kept the knowing that is evil and harmful to mankind. The third asks to help mankind.

Wood, the most talked about wooden craft resources to design wood craft gifts is gained from New Zealand trees like kauri, rimu, and fern tree. Others like pohutukawa, rata, rewarewa, kamahi, and the tawari tree stand for popular honey New Zealand. The shrub like tree manuka stands out and impresses with healing quality. A quality that is present in varying strength in designated manuka honey and oil. Manuka oil is widely used in skincare products.

Tree pictures of pohutukawa, kowhai, nikau, and fern are products of sheer endless inspiration. Artists choose photographing, painting, carving, and sculpting to express their art works. Review beautiful examples under our section New Zealand art online.

Have you been visiting New Zealand and taken tons of magnificent photos? Use them to create photo puzzles as memory or personal gifts.

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Gifts of our multicultural ancestors

Sheep, the first flock came with European settlers to Lake Wairarapa in the Wellington area in 1844. By the early 1980’s more than 70 million sheep grazed on New Zealand’s farm land. The sheep stock declined to about 40 million in 2008. In 2007 New Zealand still covered 86 % of sheep meat import in Europe. Apart from satisfying the European sheep meat import the country profits from the by products sheep wool and sheep rugs.

Possums a failed fur industry left neglected aside developed into a thread to NZ vegetation and unique birdlife. Cute but still represent a major enemy that are held at bay with much effort. In recent years some ingenious minds developed a durable and warm fibre when mixing possum fur and merino wool. The result is called merino mink that advanced into a popular New Zealand gift.

Kiwi fruit originates from China and gained world wide popularity through New Zealand. New Zealander cultivated and exported them all over the world. Kiwi fruit is now found too, in a range of beauty products, juice, wine, and liqueur.

New Zealand Symbols

Two icons that immediately jump to mind when New Zealand is mentioned are kiwi birds and the silver fern. The kiwi bird is our national bird and silver ferns and their unfurling fronds reoccur in names and especially in a never ending stream of logos, jewellery designs, pattern, and prints.

Many of these art and craft resources are in their form own to our islands, are particularly beautiful, have a mythological charge, or simply represent human ingenuity.


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