Mahuika’s toenail – Totoweka pounamu

Carved from a rare golden Totoweka pounamu this piece is like fire, like the toenail of fire from Mahuika’s feet.  Its chatoyancy means the golden fibres flash and move with the light. As a result, its colours are magic. In terms of unique style, well let’s say that if you met anyone else with pounamu this colour please let us know!  This is a very rare Totoweka pounamu that Tim found here in our awa. We are aware of only one toki like this in all the vast pounamu collections held by museums around Aotearoa. Moreover, this piece is truly stunning and would bring elegance and grace to any outfit. For that reason, you may want to buy it as a gift for someone who needs a little fire in their life, or to the person that lights you up.

We only have a limited amount of this fiery Totoweka pounamu.  It is a rare find and a very popular stone(for obvious reasons), so if you are keen on a Totoweka taonga we recommend you get in quick.

65mm length x 35mm max width

The Story

Mahuika is the Māori goddess of fire, the essence of the flame. Fire burned from every pore of her body, her hair a ball of flames. Fire even leapt from her fingertips and toenails.  This taonga represents one of the toenails of fire gifted to Māui.  Like Mahuika who lived in a cave under a firey mountain, this taonga has been forged by incredible heat and pressure, whilst lying underground.

One day Māui began wondering where fire came from, so he set off to find Mahuika. Mahuika gave him one of her fingernails of fire. But Māui was a very curious man and after she had given him her first fingernail of fire he decided he would find out where Mahuika would get her fire from if all her fire was gone. So, over the course of the day, he tricked her into giving him all her fingernails and her toenails of fire.

Finally, Mahuika realised she’d been tricked and threw her last toenail of fire at Māui. It missed Māui and flew into the trees, planting itself in the trees of Mahoe, Totara, Patete, Pukatea and Kaikōmako. These trees cherished and held on to the fire, considering it a great gift. From that time Māori would gather sticks from these trees to rub together, using their friction to create fire.

Read the full version of How Māui Brought Fire To The World


The finer points

  • We carve your Totoweka taonga to order.  Individually hand-carved just for you.
  • Please remember that pounamu is a natural material so every taonga we make from this stone will be slightly different due to the unique variations within the stone.
  • Precious things take time – please allow up to 14 days from your order to completion of your taonga.  If you need your taonga urgently please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your request.


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