Kete, Tītī storage; Metzger, Tiny; 2000-2009


Kete, Tītī storage

About this object

This is a kete (Māori basket or container, often woven from flax), typically used for the storage and transportation of the tītī after it has been captured, killed and processed. While this specific kete does not contain any processed birds it is a good example of the finished product. 'Piko' and '18' have been written in permanent marker on multiple places over the bark, Piko referring to the island the family harvests the birds from and the '18' denoting the number of birds within the bag.

Typically, the tītī are plucked and gutted, coated in fat (kato) or salt before being encased in kelp bags (poha), wrapped in totara bark then tied into a woven flax basket (kete).

Kelp growth is sensitive to seasonal changes, and the kelp bags that are used are its seed pouches, so the size of the bags vary from season to season. This dictates the size of the finished kete since people are unable to control the size of the kelp seed pouches. The flax for the kete is gathered in the spring and a variety of basket sizes are woven in preparation for the following muttonbirding season - not knowing at the time the size of the kelp bags that are still growing at the time. The bark is from the totara, gathered around the time when the tree sheds its bark - the rough outer layers are discarded on site to help protect the tree's roots and the inner layers are kept for the muttonbirding season.


Metzger, Tiny

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Piko Island

Medium and Materials

organic, vegetal, fibre, new zealand flax
organic, vegetal, bark, totara bark
organic, vegetal, seaweed, kelp


h 665 mm x w 250 mm x d 393 mm

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

Domestic Life (household chattels, food and drink)

Subject and Association Keywords

Hunting and Wild Harvesting

Object Type



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