I can personally recommend having a go at this. Even people with no ability at all can come away with something they are proud of.
Hokitika Is The Jade Capital Of New Zealand
For many New Zealanders Pounamu, also known as NZ Jade or greenstone, is more than a souvenir – it has a treasured spiritual significance. Pounamu is found in many places on the West Coast and is prized for its strength, durability and beauty.
There are a number of galleries selling pounamu in Hokitika, however if you would rather create a special piece that you have designed yourself, then I can personally recommend Bonz ‘n Stonz . Steve, the owner and master carver is an amazing person. Incredibly talented a great teacher and very very patient. It really doesn’t matter if you have no artistic ability at all, Steve can help you design and carve something you will be proud to wear or gift to a special person.
You can carve your own jewellery made from genuine jade/pounamu, bone, paua shell or mother-of-pearl. The only workshop of its kind in the country, tourists love both the fantastic experience and the opportunity to bring home a truly unique and personal memento of their trip. A great gift idea, prices vary according to the quantity and products you use. There is also a selection of pre-made jewellery by local artists on sale in store.
This the perfect rainy day activity.
Also great for those who need to take home a special gift.
It is best to set aside a full day to complete your piece.
It is a good idea to book in advance.
To save some time, come with a few ideas of what you would like to make ahead of time. That way you can begin carving a lot sooner.
Try not to make it too thin and fiddly. If it breaks part way through you will either have to start over or try and work with what you have especially if you are pushed for time.
Take Steve's advice! If he tells you something - do it. He knows what he's talking about.