9. Kete - Baskets

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Most of the items here have a practical use but you can still see the care and beauty taken to make them. Plaited baskets like those on the top shelf are widely used throughout the Pacific. Māori brought the techniques of raranga or weaving and plaiting with them to Aotearoa. These baskets called kete are made for specific purposes and come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Each type of kete was used only for that purpose. Kete are still made and used today.

Some kete were put together quickly like the large, pale open-weave basket at the top left. Now compare this kete with the one next to it – it is more finely woven and the intricate surface shows tighter work and finer fibres.

The large kete just to the right was used to carry and store kumara or sweet potato. The sturdy robust outer handles would have been worn over the shoulder to carry this heavier load.

Raranga is one of the central arts of Maori culture. It fell out of practice when Europeans arrived and brought new materials with them. But in the 1950s raranga was revived, championed by renowned mother and daughter weavers Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa, among others. Later we’ll look at some magnificent cloaks, which are another artform from Te Whare Pora, the house of weaving.

Turn around to take a look at another significant Māori artform at stop 10.

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