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.
Issue Date-1 June 2016