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A Quick Guide To Māori Weaving Materials


This is a quick guide to some of the main materials used in Māori Weaving which include plants such as harakeke, kiekie, pingao, toetoe, kuta, neinei, houhere and feathers. Other plant materials such as the aka vine are used for the weaving of fishing implements like taruke and hinaki. While other treasured plants, particular to certain tribal areas that are also used for weaving but are not covered here.

Harakeke - NZ Flax Most commonly recognised, widely used and readily available, the leaves of the harakeke are ideal for weaving a range of useful items using the Raranga technique and a range of Kākahu (traditional clothing) can be woven from muka - the fibre of the leaf.

More about harakeke is covered in the following lessons including tips to find harakeke for weaving and what to do if you don't have harakeke to weave with.

Pa Harakeke = Heather Cardigan and her husband Shaun's Flax plantation near Dargaville Aotearoa NZ
Pa Harakeke = Heather Cardigan and her husband Shaun's Flax plantation near Dargaville Aotearoa NZ

Pictured above: An extensive pa harakeke at the home of Hetet School member, Heather Carrigan Photo credit: Heather Carrigan



Please be aware It is fine to gather harakeke from your own garden, or the gardens of other people you have gained permission from. You should also learn how to properly gather native plants to ensure you don't cause unnecessary damage. If you see that someone has already gathered from a plant in a public area, you should assume that it is being taken care of by that person and seek to find another bush to gather from. It is important to note that, in Aotearoa New Zealand, plants like pingao (which is an endangered species) and other native plants like kiekie (that are commonly found in National Parks and Reserves); as well as plants that grow in areas which are part of iwi or hapu lands - often require permission to gather. We strongly recommend that you do not gather from those areas without permission. You may require permission from local councils or authorities to gather harakeke or kieie from parks or reserves. You should also only gather harakeke or other plants that are near and around Marae if you belong there or have permission of the tangata whenua.




Kiekie Kiekie is found in native bush areas of Aotearoa New Zealand. When boiled and dyed it is often used for weaving kete as well as whaariki and tukutuku

Kiekie Used for Māori Weaving
Kiekie

Photo credit: NZ Nature Guy.com Click here to read more about Kiekie

Pingao An endangered native species found on the coastlines of Aotearoa New Zealand. Pingao is prized for it's naturally vibrant golden colour. It is most often seen woven as kete and in tukutuku.


Pingao used for Raranga
Pingao


Toetoe The stem of the flower (the fluffy part) of the Toetoe is called kakaho. Kakaho is used for constructing tukutuku panels that are most commonly found in wharenui but also other public spaces


Toetoe used for Tukutuku
Toetoe

Photo credit: landcareresearch.co.nz Toetoe not to be confused with pampus grass Want to know the difference? Click here

Veraoa Hetet weaving Tukutuku
Veramoa Hetet weaving Tukutuku


Tukutuku panels are created using kiekie, pingao and kakaho Pictured above: Pingao flanks the edge of a tukutuku panel. The white and red brown are kiekie. Kakaho can be seen peeking through the slats from behind.






Feathers

Top of a Korowai woven by Rangimarie Hetet for her son Wirhana (Bill) Hetet
Top of a Korowai woven by Rangimarie Hetet for her son Wirhana (Bill) Hetet

Many kākahu such as kahukiwi (kiwi feathered cloak) include feathers of birds that have died in an accident, been attacked by other animals or have died naturally. Instead of burying the beautiful feathers, weavers give them new life by weaving them into the cloak.

Pictured: Kaka feathers in a korowai woven by Rangimarie Hetet



Photo credit: Jeff McEwan Pictured: Kiwi, Toroa and Pukeko feathers at the bottom of a cloak woven by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet Photo credit: Jeff McEwan

Kuta A water reed that is surprisingly light and waterproof and therefore has many uses. Often woven into rain capes by weavers who are fortunate enough to have this precious resource growing in their tribal area or those who have been given kuta to weave with. Pictured: A hieke or rain cape woven by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet from kuta gifted to her and embellished with paua shell (abalone)

Neinei


Wallhanging woven by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet featuring Neinei
Wallhanging woven by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet featuring Neinei

Sculpturally stunning, the leaves of the Neinei are often found on the native forest floor. A wallhanging woven by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet using Neinei






Houhere


Kakahu - Tuakana woven by Veranoa Hetet from muka and incorporating Houhere
Kakahu - Tuakana woven by Veranoa Hetet from muka and incorporating Houhere



Pictured: 'Tuakana'. Muka and Houhere.A cloak I wove to speak of the ancestral ties of Māori people Collection of TePapa National Museum This Kākahu incorporates the fibre of harakeke (NZ Flax) and Houhere (the bark of the Lacebark tree) which forms the triangle patterns in the cloak













What Materials Can You Identify in the picture below?


The kete shown above are woven from a range of different plant materials native to Aotearoa New Zealand, including: harakeke (NZ Flax); Pingao; Kiekie, and muka (flax fibre)

Wall of Kete woven by 4 generations of women in the Hetet Whānau
Wall of Kete woven by 4 generations of women in the Hetet Whānau

Pictured: Kete from four generations of weavers of the Hetet whānau on display at the Dowse Art Museum in the exhibition 'Legacy: The Art of Rangi Hetet and Erenora Puketpu-Hetet' 2016


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