Contemporary baskets (kete)

Maori, late 20th century AD
From New Zealand, Polynesia

The art of Maori basket plaiting is currently flourishing. Basket makers are appreciated for their skill and knowledge, and possession of a kete is considered a badge of cultural identity. An owner takes particular care of a basket out of respect for the artist. Relatively small baskets such as these are used for carrying personal belongings.

The kete illustrated here are made from strips of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), pingao grass (Desmoschoenus spiralis), and kiekie (Freycinetia baueriana). Baskets decorated with geometric patterns are known as kete whakairo. Tthe dye may be natural or artificial.

The baskets were made by the following artists:
purple diagonals - Mana Rangi
red/yellow - M. Murray
beige - Christina Hurihia Wirihana
brown/beige - Kimihia Doel
red/beige - Eva Anderson
black with feathers - Erenora Puketapu Hetet
black/beige - M. Murray
large purple/beige - Maro Brown
yellow - Ruhia Oketopa
green/beige and black/beige - Christina Hurihia Wirihana

Find in the collection online

More information


M. Pendergrast, Raranga Whakairo: Maori plaiti (Auckland, Reed Books, 1991)

D.C. Starzecka (ed.), Maori art and culture, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)


Width: 23.000 cm (min.)
Width: 23.000 cm (min.)

Museum number

AOA 1993.Oc3.70;AOA 1993.Oc3.71;AOA 1995.Oc5.2;AOA 1991.Oc2.1;AOA 1994.Oc4.98;AOA


Majority collected by Ms. Dorota Czarkowska Starzecka during British Museum field trips in 1993 and 1994.


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore