About Raegan Bregmen
ART WITH PURPOSE
Pounamu isn’t just a passion – it’s a way of life
The work of Raegan Bregmen from Takutai Rere jade studio has been known to push artistic boundaries. His approach, passion, love and drive, both as artist and individual has strongly connected with his clientele – both in New Zealand and overseas.
From simple form, through to fine detailed jewellery, sculpture, weaponry and maori instruments, Raegan carves with superb attention to detail and a heart that brings life to the pounamu (jade) he works with.
Raegan, of Ngai Tahu descent, was born and bred in Ōtaki, “I love the place”, he says, “it’s where my story began.
As a keen artist, Raegan attended the Learning Connection in Wellington. Here he studied screen printing, jewellery making, wood carving, bronze casting, stone carving, painting, majoring in blacksmithing and illustration. Stone carving resonated so strongly that he made his way to Hokitika – otherwise known as Pounamu country, on the west coast of the South Island.
Studying with Tai Poutini in Greymouth Raegan gained a diploma in Jade and Hardstone carving and went on to teach at the polytech. Since then he has set up his own studio and established himself throughout New Zealand as a pounamu carver.
Raegan now operates from his studio, north of Otaki, where he lives with his partner and two young children.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Pounamu is the traditional Māori name for the highly prized stone used to make traditional and contemporary jewellery, adornments and sculptures. It is also referred to as Greenstone, but less so now.
New Zealand jade is a gemological term that emphasises the similarity of the stone to overseas jade.
It is more than just a name though, Pounamu has a spiritual significance – connecting with its wearer and receiving their wairua (spirit) – to be passed down through generations.
Pounamu is only found in the South Island of New Zealand, known in maori as “Te Wai Pounamu (the land of greenstone).
Māori people recognise four main types of pounamu, identifying their colour and translucence:
The first three are nephrite, while Tangiwai is bowenite. There were many other names for varieties of pounamu (including tribal variations), based on shade and hue.