Kete Whakairo - Maroon
Original design by Maria McLean
300mm W x 60mm D x 135mm H (not including handles)
After arriving in Rotorua from Switzerland and being introduced to Maori culture and art Maria was fascinated by flax weaving. She attended Waiariki Polytechnic (now Toi Ohamai) in Rotorua in 2010 and learnt the basic weaving technique from her teacher Richard Kereopa. She then studied for two years under Melata Bennett at Te Wananga o Aotearoa Rotorua. Her skills further developed while studying at Te Puia, the National Weaving School - Te Rito.
While learning the technique of weaving, Maria was drawn to the warmth of the Maori culture and throughout my visit the appreciation and respect for this was always present. Her knowledge of traditional māori tikanga (protocol) was vast and it was a real pleasure to see a visitor to our country embrace it with such authenticity.
Maria weaves with harakeke (New Zealand flax) grown around Rotorua. The harakeke that she uses is carefully chosen from different pa harakeke (flax sites) according to the characteristics required for the article. She uses the muka (fibre) of harakeke to plait the handles, and colours the kete with commercial dyes. Most of her products can safely be taken to foreign countries including Australia the US and Europe.