The practice of weaving kete has been an integral part of Maori culture for generations. Traditionally fulfilling a functional requirement, today kete have developed into a contemporary art form.
Issued to coincide with the dawn of the Māori New Year, the 2016 Matariki stamp issue examines the art form of kete; its origin, development and significance to te ao Māori (the Māori world). The six self-adhesive stamps feature six finely crafted kete, created by artists recommended by Toi Māori Aotearoa - Māori Arts New Zealand.
The origins of kete can be linked back to the widely known tradition of ngā kete o te wānanga, commonly coined as the three baskets of knowledge. The three baskets of knowledge contain all that is required to live in te ao türoa (the environment), and oral traditions recount either Täne or Tāwhaki as the retriever of the baskets. One was indeed a god, the other a mere mortal with godlike attributes.
Functionally, kete are containers - receptacles for gathering and housing what is considered necessary for the task at hand. A treasured Mäori art form passed down through the generations, kete are most commonly weaved from flax due to its durability, but contemporary artists are pushing the boundaries of kete design, with Matthew McIntrye Wilson’s piece created from silver and copper.
Artist Profiles - The Artists Behind Matariki
$1.00 - Cori Marsters
At 11 years old Cori trained in the art of tāniko (to embellish) with his kuia (grandmother) Gail Shaw. Instrumental in Cori’s foray into whatu (warp and weft weaving), she taught him to extract flax fibre and spin by hand. His kete tāniko is reminiscent of a genre of basket created around the early 1900s. Executed to the edge of excellence using natural vegetable dyes and threads, the niho taniwha (serpent’s teeth) and waewae parerā (ducks' feet) are the focal patterns.
$1.00 - Pip Devonshire
Pip began weaving in 1986 and it is no surprise she is a natural. Her kuia Rangimahora Reihana-Mete and Ranginui Parewahawaha Leonard were renowned for their expertise in raranga (sinestral and dextral) and whatu, with a penchant for blending new ideas with traditional forms. Pip also displays a naturalness for and ease in creating mixed traditional and non-traditional forms. She has elevated her kete whiri (basket with plaited bottom) from being practical and functional to sculptural and three-dimensional.
$1.80 - Te Atiwei Ririnui
Taught by his koroua (elder) who instilled in him a love for this art form, Te Atiwei thrives on aspiring to scale the summits of excellence in raranga (plaiting) and whatu (twining). The combination of his passion and drive to excel is what makes him a formidable weaver. The poutama (male lineage) design is difficult to execute and here, Te Atiwei displays mastery and control of the form. Learn more about Te Atiwei Ririnui.
$2.20 - Audra Potaka
Weaving since 1998 and immensely proud of her Ngāti Mutunga heritage, Audra experimented, creating a unique design embodying her maunga (mountain), Taranaki. Its non-compliance with a symmetrical form displays subtle nuances of peaks. In addition to Taranaki, toroa (royal albatross) feathers are subtly placed, providing balance. The two symbols in this kete epitomise the narrative of an enduring people, making it unique and distinctive. Audra acknowledges Matthew McIntyre Wilson, weaver and jeweller of Taranaki and Ngā Mahanga, who became a source of inspiration during the weaving of this kete. Learn more about Audra Potaka.
$2.70 - Matthew McIntyre Wilson
Matthew has been working with Māori weaving techniques and forms for a number of years, having been inspired by weaver and friend Rangi Kiu. Matthew has become renowned amongst the weaving fraternity for weaving kete from silver and copper retrieved from discarded materials. While the materials often present a perfect consistent gauge, it is his mastery of the aramoana (navigate the ocean) design, and designs in general, that makes his work exciting and exemplary.
$3.30 - Sonia Snowden
Sonia is a popular, experienced and respected weaver in te ao Māori. Suffice to say her delicate pieces are nothing short of excellent. The name of her kete is Tātai whetu ki te rangi, clusters of stars in the heavens. It is an outstanding example of finesse and femininity, making an extremely difficult and complex design look fluid and simple, elevating the kete to the precipice of brilliance.
Intricate collectables for your Matariki collection
To obtain the Matariki 2016 stamps in a gummed format, make sure you order the miniature sheet - an essential addition to any Matariki collection. Two vibrant first day covers are also available, and are the perfect way to acknowledge the Māori New Year.
Discover more about the kete art form with the presentation pack
Learn more about kete and its origins with the special presentation pack. Designed by Rangi Kipa and Roy McDougall, the presentation pack is a visually stunning collectable, and features all of the six kete in their full glory. It has been written by Karl Rangikawhiti Leonard and brings the story of kete to life in both English and te reo. Karl is a skilled and highly respected weaver who holds two master's degrees and has been a Fulbright Scholar in resident in Montana, the United States. Contained within the pack is the full set of stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover.
|Date of issue:||1 June 2016|
|Number of stamps:||Six self-adhesive stamps|
|Denominations:||$1.00 (x2), $1.80, $2.20, $2.70 and $3.30|
|Stamps designed by:||Rangi Kipa and Roy McDougall|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||40mm x 30mm (horizontal and vertical)|
|Paper type:||Self-adhesive: Tullis Russell 210gsm PSA red phosphor stamp paper. Gummed miniature sheets: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||25|
|Perforation:||13.33 x 13.60 (Miniature Sheet)|
|Period of sale:||Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 31 May 2017. First day covers will remain on sale until 31 July 2016.|