EP. 2 - TANGATA WHENUA
HERO ARTEFACT: PUKETOI KETE
LOCATION: Otago Museum
The kete and its contents date back to sometime between 1680 and 1730. It was discovered in 1895 by a rabbiter employed at Puketoi Station in Central Otago. The kete was tucked into a crevice inside the cave, which is located near the Taieri River. This area was well known, named and travelled by southern Māori who would travel inland from their primary settlements on the Otago coast to hunt, fish and gather plants for textile production.
The contents of the kete provide a fascinating snapshot in time. Among the contents were weaving materials – prepared harakeke (flax) and tikumu (Celmisia or mountain daisy) leaves – along with dog skin, shells used for dressing flax, two pairs of pāraerae (sandals) made from tī kōuka (cabbage tree) leaves, a pūkoro kete (tutu-berry bag) made from kiekie, bird feathers, a pāua shell filled with ochre for painting, and parcels of sweet-smelling plant gum.
The contents of the kete give an insight into early Māori life in Southern Aotearoa. The owner / weaver was highly knowledgeable in sourcing and preparing textile materials, and skilled in making a wide range of objects, from cloaks to mats and musical instruments.
Additional artefacts in this episode and where to visit them:
Celmisia cloak – Kew Gardens , London (Economic Botany Collection)
God Stick – Okains Bay Māori and Colonial Museum
Joseph Bank’s plant samples collected in 1769 – Auckland War Memorial Museum
Tuki’s map – Hocken Library, Dunedin