Ngāi Tahu Pounamu has started a significant partnership with the Child Cancer Foundation, with the launch of a new hand-carved pounamu bead as part of the Beads of Courage programme that recognises the strength and courage of each child during cancer treatment and procedures.
Three New Zealand children are diagnosed with cancer each week. In recognition of every procedure and treatment each child undergoes, and the milestones achieved during their battle with cancer, they will receive "Beads of Courage" from the foundation.
The hand-carved pounamu beads will be donated to the Child Cancer Foundation annually and will be unique to the programme in New Zealand. The first recipient of the pounamu bead 5 year old Utiku Poihakena-Jackson who is receiving treatment for lymphoma.
As part of the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Authentication Scheme, each bead will have a unique authentication number, which allows the owner to trace the source of their particular piece of pounamu.
Pounamu is treasured throughout New Zealand for its strength and beauty . It is regarded as tapu (sacred), and having mauri (significant life force) and mana (status), it is ideally suited to the Beads of Courage Programme.