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Friendship Kete

Kete are traditionally baskets woven in flax (harakeke). Sometimes leaves of other plants such as the Nikau and Cabbage tree are used. Patterns that symbolise elements of nature are woven into the kete. Traditional designs are often passed on to the next generation and treasured by iwi. 

You will need:

•  Black and white A3 card or paper

•  Glue

•  Scissors

•  Feather, shells, and other decorations

•  Yarn, rope or flax for the handle

Specific Learning Objectives

Students will:

•  Discuss the purpose and designs of traditional kete

•  Explore frottage techniques to create paper for weaving

•  Weave a kete and use design principles to embellish their kete

Let's get started!


Start with making a frottage piece of paper with crayon. Frottage means rubbing. You can choose a limited number of coloured crayons, then venture outside of the classroom looking for different textured surfaces to rub. For example, you can rub on the playground surface, or the swimming pool floor to make a pattern.


Dye the frottage piece of paper a different colour to the crayons selected, so the crayon rubbings will stand out. Liquid or powder dye can be used. Let the paintings dry, then cut the paper into even strips that can be weaved. For younger students, the teacher should do this, however older students could rule lines on the back of the paper and cut the strips themselves.


Weave black paper with the strips of rubbed paper to make the Kete. Weave the paper over and under to create a contrasting pattern. Glue all of the loose ends together. Once dry, fold in half, and glue the sides together.


Each handle can be plaited using a different material, let the students choose their material. You can chose to use yarn, rope, pipecleaner, or plaited flax. (explain here how the handle is secured inside the Kete.


Decorate the Kete with bits of paua and feathers. Be careful not to cover the weaving with the decorations, and that they are not too heavy.