UK tourist slammed for offensive comments after trying to sell pounamu online

A British couple is under fire for making offensive comments after trying to sell pounamu they had found in an online marketplace.
The pair advertised a piece of raw greenstone, found near the West Coasts Arahura River, on a Waikato buy, sell and trade Facebook group.

The woman claimed they were trying to sell it before their tourist visa expired and they returned to England, claiming they would be flying out from Christchurch next Saturday.

But when commenters told her selling pounamu does not follow tikanga, or customary practice, her comments took an unpleasant turn.

* Rise in illegal trade in pounamu linked to gangs, iwi says
* $18m for West Coast pounamu pathway
* New life for massive pounamu boulder

Can everyone also stop hating on the find, we found it fair and square, she wrote.

We have spent a lot of money in this country, and we are returning back to England soon, so it would be nice to have a little money to spend on souvenirs for the grandchildren!

The woman went on to claim that without England, you lot wouldnt be here, let alone be using a mobile phone.

A woman made racist comments after being criticised for trying to sell pounamu on Facebook marketplace.

You should be appreciative of colonialism, otherwise you would have been in grass skirts eating bugs.

Her statements were criticised as both racist and ignorant by commenters.

Pounamu has great spiritual value in Mori culture, and is considered tapu, or sacred.

Legislation in 1997 returned to Ngi Tahu ownership of all pounamu found within its takiw (area) and the adjacent sea.

Fossicking on beaches for small amounts able to be carried out in a backpack is legal, but anything more or along rivers from Haast to Greymouth constitutes stealing from the iwi.

Cultural adviser and academic Karaitiana Taiuru said it was inappropriate and offensive that people wanted to take the taonga [treasure] and then sell it.

By taking it to on-sell, the visitors were denying an income to those people with whakapapa rights.

It was traditionally Ngti Waewae taonga, Taiuru said.

Cultural adviser and academic Karaitiana Taiuru says taking pounamu to sell is inappropriate and offensive.

He said the people trying to sell it appeared to have no consideration for Mori custom. Pounamu was usually seen as a treasure that was gifted.

It's disrespectful, Taiuru said of the couples actions. It's all about the money.

The couple could not be reached for comment.

They have previously been criticised for comments made in a public West Auckland Facebook group.

Earlier this month the woman expressed concern about being approached by people asking for a gold coin or any smokes, when she got out of her car at the shops.

She claimed she was going to teach them a lesson by buying a pack of cheap cigarettes, and dousing them with human urine before handing them out.


Our Partner