Kete, square with strap made of plaited flax.; 1970-098-0003


Kete, square with strap made of plaited flax.

About this object

The kete has 2 tassels, one on each side of the strap. It has decoration in a cross-stitch design on both sides of red and black flax; the colouring extends onto the flax fringe. The colouring in this weaving is produced by soaking the whītau/ muka in natural dyes. Dyes were produced from either paru/black mud or from the bark from any one of a number of native trees, depending on the colour required.

it can best be described as ‘fashion’ or dress item as it was intended to be used on social occasions where everybody would wear their “Sunday best” clothes. It has two tassels on either side of the strap.

In traditional Māori society, for almost every situation where a container was required, a weaver could manufacture a kete/basket to accommodate that need. For the softest or delicate baskets whītau/flax fibre was used. Whītau, also called muka in some districts, is obtained by stripping leaves of harakere/native flax by scraping with either the edge of a shell or more recently a blunt metal knife. This process exposes the fibres that run the length of the leaves, allowing them to be removed. Sometimes they are softly beaten and/or washed before use.

Place Made


Medium and Materials



Width: 170mm
Length: 190mm

Named Collection

Maori: Taonga Collection

Credit Line

Donated by Mrs A J McRea, Augustine Street, Waimate

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution - Non-commercial - Share Alike (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial - Share Alike (cc)

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