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An Overview of Māori Weaving Techniques

This overview shows some of the main techniques used in Māori Weaving

Wall of kete at Legacy Exhibition woven by 4 generations of women in the Hetet Whānau
Wall of kete at Legacy Exhibition woven by 4 generations of women in the Hetet Whānau

Pictured above:Kete woven by four generations of the Hetet whānau: Rangimarie Hetet, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Veranoa Hetet and Sophie Ani Owen. These kete feature four different weaving techniques. Photo: Legacy: The Art of Rangi Hetet and Erenora Puketapu-Hetet Exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum, 2016, Photographer: Jeff McEwan




Raranga Māori Basketry (There is no sound for the video below)




Kete and other items woven by Dara Barton and Sonya McConachy
Kete and other items woven by Dara Barton and Sonya McConachy

Pictured above: Raranga woven by mother and daughter, Soraya McConachy and Dara Barton, both students of Veranoa in the Hetet School of Māori Art Photography by Soraya McConachy

Taaniko A technique akin to twining used to weave the borders of kākahu – traditional garments such as feathered cloaks. In the video below, Veranoa demonstrates the Taaniko technique. (There is no sound to this video)


Veranoa shares more about Taaniko In the video below, Veranoa speaks in more detail about Taaniko (Make sure your sound is on for the video below)


Tāruke woven by John Puketapu of Waiwhetu
Tāruke woven by John Puketapu of Waiwhetu




The taaniko technique is also employed in the making of tāruke (crayfish pots) and hinaki (eel pots) as well as lashing techniques used for binding. Pictured: A Tāruke- crayfish pot woven with the taaniko technique by traditional fisherman, John Puketapu of Waiwhetu (a first cousin of Erenora Puketapu-Hetet) who was weaving and using tāruke and hinaki in his late 80s, until 2016.






Whatu The technique used to weave kākahu – like hieke (rain capes) and kahu huruhuru (feathered cloaks). Fine threads called 'aho' are used to weave the whenu or warp threads together to create the fabric. (There is no sound to this video)




Korowai - a particular type of Kaakahu featuring hukahuka

Korowai woven by Rangimarie Hetet for her son Wirihana (Bill) Hetet
Korowai woven by Rangimarie Hetet for her son Wirihana (Bill) Hetet

Woven by Dame Rangimarie Hetet (1892-1995) for her eldest son featuring hukahuka (tassles), kiwi and kaka feathers, and made completely by hand from muka using the taaniko and whatu techniques Photo credit: Jeff McEwan


















Tukutuku Tukutuku is the technique used in the weaving of wall panels for wharenui – traditional meeting houses.The panels are woven by weavers, one at the front and one at the back, threading different coloured fibre through to create the design.


Veranoa Hetet weaves Tukutuku
Veranoa Hetet weaves Tukutuku


Archival footage of Tukutuku being woven Below: Weavers working on the tukutuku panels at Waiwhetu in 1959, for the wharenui Arohanui ki te tangata. Footage courtesy of the NZ National Film Archives



Tukutuku in the wharenui at Wainuiomata marae, designed by Rangi Hetet and his wife Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and created by them and their team of carvers and weavers


Interior wall of Wainuiomata Marae decorated by Rangi Hetet and Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and their team of carvers and weavers
Interior wall of Wainuiomata Marae decorated by Rangi Hetet and Erenora Puketapu-Hetet and their team of carvers and weavers

Tukutuku in Public Spaces There are many tukutuku panels in public spaces throughout Aotearoa NZ. Below are just two examples:


Rangi Hetet and daughter Vranoa in front of tukutuku they wove
Rangi Hetet and daughter Vranoa in front of tukutuku they wove with their whānau and students

(Pictured above left) Rangi Hetet and daughter Veranoa at the opening of the new Māori select committee room of the NZ Parliament building with tukutuku designed by Rangi and woven by his wife Erenora along with Veranoa and other family members including some of their students at that time. Pictured above right) Rangi and Veranoa at the Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre in front of whakairo designed and carved by Rangi and his team and tukutuku designed by Rangi and woven by him and his family.

Whiri Whiri is another technique that is used in different forms of 'plaiting' with 3, 4, 5, 8, 10 or more whenu (weaving strips) which are woven together.The whiri technique is used in the weaving of kete whiri; for the handles of kete and poi, as well as rope and other items. In the video below Veranoa is demonstrating whiri



Knotting and Lashing

There are also knotting techniques used for weaving fishing implements such as kupenga (nets).

Whiri and lashing are used to provide a handle for small hand held weapons such as patu and wahaika and to decorate traditional weaponry such as taiaha and tewhatewha.

The adornment seen on the weapons (below) is not just for aesthetics. As the tewhatewha is parried, the feathers at the end of the whiri twirls in the air and helps to distract the opponent.

Lashing used on Māori Weaponry
Lashing used on Māori Weaponry

Pictured left to right: The lashing on a taiaha, the head of a taiaha carved by Veranoa's husband, Sam Hauwaho; and feathers lashed to whiri on a tewhatewha

TEST YOURSELF Can you identify fo ur different Māori weaving techniques in the photo below?

Wall of kete featuring muka, harakeke, pingao amd  kiekie
Wall of kete featuring muka, harakeke, pingao amd kiekie





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