Friday, 6 September 2013

Maori women were great with accessories

Kete Kiwikiwi, Tauranga Heritage Collection
This small traditional Maori woven kit adorned with kiwi feathers (kete kiwikiwi) is a fine example of a woman’s personal accessory used on important occasions and could be considered a symbol of one’s status within Maori society likewise a clock made from similar materials.

This particular kete displays the traditional weaving technique used to prepare flax fibre (muka) into a double pair twining of cordage which is then woven together to bind the wefts and form a webbing (whenua). The feathers are applied in the same manner and the handles are two-ply twist termed tawai or tamarua. Although the kete displays a loss of feathers, the overall condition of the kete is good when considering it was probably made about the mid-19th century.

Kete Whakairo, Tauranga Heritage Collection
The kete whakairo, decorated kit, is made from harakeke Phormium tenax a native variety of the commonly known flax. The handles are four strand plaits called tuapuku. The Kete has a very fine weaving technique and woven  using natural dyed fibres which appear in two tones of brown. The inside of the kete at some point in its history has had a velvet lining added.

The exterior woven pattern of the kete is Te ara moana design. The kete was donated to the museum as part of the E. L. Adams collection.

Kete Muka, Tauranga Heritage Collection
The kete muka or bag made from dressed flax fibre has a fringed edge in brown and golden shades and has a striped vertical pattern of human hair and houhere Hoheria populnea, commonly termed lace bark. The inclusion of hair would signal that this kete muka is of some importance and possibly connected to a particular person or a taonga of a personal nature, such as a gift.

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