Story: Natural environment

Weaving with flax (2nd of 3)

Weaving with flax

Baskets (kete) are woven from New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) at Jerusalem on the Whanganui river, 1921. The Greek word phormium means basket, an item that Māori traditionally wove from flax. Kete have a host of uses, from storing food to carrying sacred cloaks and greenstone. A fine weave known as kete whakairo is highly regarded because of the skill and knowledge of the craftsperson. Weaving also has a spiritual aspect – an ancient Polynesian belief, shared by Māori, holds that artists are mediums through which the gods create.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PA1-q-257-62-1
Photograph by James Macdonald

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Natural environment - The bush and its plants', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/2682/weaving-with-flax (accessed 31 May 2020)

Story by Carl Walrond