Thursday, February 5, 2009
The traditional Maori woven flax basket – kete harakeke – is more than just a craft. Weaving of any sort is full of symbolism and meaning for Maori and from the simple food basket to the elaborately-decorated woven feather cloak, it is imbued with spiritual value. The kete is perhaps the most common form of Maori weaving present in contemporary culture and it finds expression as both an art form exhibited in galleries and as a purely utilitarian article. A kete may be used as a general carry-all or it may be sold as a tourist souvenir. Either way, they’re as diverse and as colourful as the people who make and use them.