Stratus Stories featuring Mountain Jade

Stratus Blue are proud to showcase Mountain Jade, an industry leader and preeminent authority on jade, with headquarters in Rotorua.

Mountain Jade started in 1986 as a tiny flicker of an idea in founder John David Sheehan’s mind, in that time this family-owned and operated business has grown from humble roots to become a leader in the creation of hand-crafted jade carvings. They are passionate about what they do and love sharing this passion on the world stage.

What has been your greatest success and achievement to date?

Growing great relationships in the industry that has allowed us to work with over 30 of New Zealand’s best artists. This approach to people first and investing in relationships has enabled us to build a presence large enough to roll out an interactive discovery store at Auckland International Airport - with the largest collection of jade anywhere in New Zealand!

What's been the biggest challenge to your company/organisation during the COVID-19 crisis?

In short – cash flow management. Our business is heavily reliant on tourism and visitor sales and unfortunately we can see some very tough months ahead.

Has technology played any part in enabling you to continue your business as usual activities?

Our business historically has been a reluctant user of technology. The move to Alert Level 4 has forced our team to rethink the use of technology and adopt new ways of working in a very short space of time. 

This has included the use of Microsoft Teams as a way of communication and meetings. Google Forms has been used to engage with the wider team and Remote Desktop to remotely access work desktops from home computers.

What three tips would you give other businesses to help them through this period?

  1. Stay connected with each other and be sure everyone takes the time to share personal stories for staying sane. We have shared photos/videos of everything from Home Gyms to Backyard Cafés.

  2. Set boundaries for working hours – it’s extremely easy to ‘slowly burn out’ by stretching working hours deep into the night. Working from Home makes the work tools more accessible than ever and it’s important to put them away at the end of the work day!

  3. Use the lockdown opportunity to have staff think critically about their respective functions. It’s not often that we are given four weeks of distraction-free headspace assessment. It’s the perfect time to take the time to try something new.

What are you most looking forward to doing as a team once lockdown is over?

Our extroverted and people friendly retail staff will be desperate to engage with human beings outside of their bubble, while our artists will be champing at the bit to get back to their tools. 

As a company we are all looking forward to figuring out what the ‘new normal’ is for our team, artists, and collaborators.


Big thanks to Sam Hulton, General Manager at Mountain Jade for sharing their thoughts and tips with us.

To find out more about Mountain Jade and see some of the beautiful and unique pieces (which can still be purchased online with a current 20% off special offer) visit the website


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