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Young people on Dingwall Trust’s Transition to Adulthood service got to connect with Maori culture in a practical way recently.

Pictured is T, one of the rangatahi on the service, proudly showing a stunning pendant he created at a pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) carving workshop. In the process of creating the pendant, he also learned the tikanga surrounding Maori carving.

Culture connection for care-experienced rangatahi through tikanga and whakapapa is a key platform for the Transition to Adulthood service.  So the team jumped at the chance to visit the Aotearoa Bone and Stone Carving Academy.

The day began and ended with a karakia. In between T and his personal advisor Clint Vilitau learned all about pounamu and where it comes from. Pounamu is found on the West Coast of the South Island and comes in a variety of shades.

The first practical task of the day was to choose a piece of pounamu and then decide on what shape it should be.

Blessed creation

Under tutor Maha, the pair also learned to use different tools to shape their stone, including electric grinders and sandpaper. And how to attach the string to make their pendants, which were blessed at the end of the day.

Maha explained that part of the tikanga of pounamu carving is to create a piece as a gift to someone rather than for yourself. T and the other rangatahi were excited thinking about who they could give their carving to.

Clint says the workshop was an amazing experience and provided great culture connection. The Dingwall Trust Transitions team plan to repeat it with more rangatahi again soon.

To find out more about our Transition to Adulthood service and how the team assist rangatahi leaving care, head to

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Using a grinder to shape the pounamu

Sanding is also important

T with his finished pounamu toki pendant