How much for a korowai?

May 31, 2016


This is a question we get asked at least once a week here at the Hetet School of Māori Art.

"My (loved one) is (graduating, getting married, retiring, etc) next month. I'd like to give them a korowai. How much please?"

Before I answer that question - write down what your guesstimate is.
You can compare your guess with my answer at the end.

Let's use the simple formula: Basic Price = Cost of Materials + Cost of Time

Cost of materials

None. Pretty much.

A truckload (literally) of flax leaves and a few bird feathers plus some dye.
Natural dyes are free. The cost of power for preparing them is nominal.
Chemical ones will cost around $100.

Cost of Time

Here's where most of the real cost sits.

Step 1: To gather and strip enough flax for one medium sized korowai requires four flax-gathering trips -  5 hours

Step 2: Prepare Muka for weaving including:

Prepare flax for extraction of muka
Extract muka
Ply fibres
Prep feathers
A total of 250...

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This is NOT a Kete

Mar 26, 2016

Making a Stand for Māori Weaving

It's been happening for years - cheap imported baskets masquerading as 'kete'.

Now it's time to take a stand for Māori weaving and Rāranga weavers.

The baskets pictured above, are NOT Kete. These are bags made in Asia by machine and sold for less than $3 in NZ

THE Baskets pictured below ARE Kete  woven by hand using the Rāranga - Māori basketry technique.


Kete is the Māori word for carrying basket. It is not a transliteration of kit. It is a Māori word for a basket woven from plant material using the Rāranga Māori weaving technique. Other plants are also used to weave kete. These include pingao (a yellow coastal grass) and kiekie (a plant that grows in the bush at the base and on the trunks of trees).

Recently, Veranoa Hetet posted this on her Maori Weaving with Veranoa Hetet Facebook Page:

Making a Stand for Raranga

"Years ago the $2 Shop was advertising these things as 'Kete'. My mother threatened...

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Interview with Erenora Puketapu-Hetet

Jan 27, 2016

An interview with Māori weaver and artist Erenora Puketapu-Hetet recorded by Te Papa National Museum shortly before she succumbed to cancer in July 2006.

We are grateful for this record of her thoughts at that time. 

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