Story: Flax and flax working

Flax kete (2nd of 3)

Flax kete

Flax kete (baskets) had many uses and are still a popular alternative to a tote bag. The flax in these modern baskets is brilliantly dyed. Strips of leaves are woven by a technique known as ‘raranga’ to form the kete. This technique is also used to produce other articles such as floor mats and belts. Although New Zealand flax is the most common material because of its durability, the leaves of other plants such as kiekie and pīngao are also used. Patterns that symbolise elements of nature are often woven into kete and other items. These patterns are carefully protected within many iwi (tribes), and handed down the generations.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Leanne Tamaki

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Flax and flax working - Māori use of flax', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 July 2024)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Sep 2007