Erenora Puketapu-Hetet

Te Āti Awa

1941 - 2006

Erenora Puketapu-Hetet was born and raised in Waiwhetu. She received an education from tribal tutors, and at Waiwhetu School, Hutt Intermediate and Wellington Technical College. After working and studying photography she became a trained nurse. She married Rangi Hetet who comes from a family of weavers. Some of the weaving techniques lost by Te Ati Awa were taught to Hetet by Rangi’s family. She specialised in weaving kakahu. She always loved writing and composed many songs about weaving. She wrote Kohae Aronui, a correspondence course for Open Polytech Distance Learning on Māori Art and was a unit writer on weaving for NZQA. She assisted kaumatua of Waiwhetu marae to write their memoirs and to collect archival material. Puketapu-Hetet was a member of the Dowse Art Museum Management Board and was an ex-Trustee of Wellington Art Centre. She chaired the Central Regional Arts Council, the Children’s Literature Committee and the Music Compositions Committee of the former Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. She graduated with a Diploma of Māoritanga in 1988. She was a J.P. and was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to weaving in 2002.

Biographical sources

  • Phone interview and correspondence with Puketapu-Hetet, 1 Sept. 1992 and 8 Mar. 1998.
  • Te Ha questionnaire, 1992.
  • Arts Times 20 (1991): 4.
  • New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa. Ed. Alister Taylor. Vol. 1. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa, 1992: 234.
  • Gifford, Adam. "Obituary: Erenora Puketapu-Hetet." Aug. 12 2006. 12 Sept. 2008.

    Children's literature

  • "Making a Piupiu." Photographs by Karen Angus. Junior Journal 7 (1992): 10-17.
  • Through photographs and simple text Puketapu-Hetet provides a step-by-step guide to making a piupiu.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Māori Museum Training Programme." AGMANZ Journal 20.1 (1989): 26-27.
  • Puketapu-Hetet provides a report of the objectives and progress of the Museum and Art Gallery Training Scheme for young Māori and Polynesian people which was established in 1987 at the National Museum in Wellington.
  • "Ngā Mahi a Te Whare Pora." Taonga Māori: Treasures of the New Zealand Māori People. Sydney, Austral.: Australian Museum, 1989. 52-57.
  • Puketapu-Hetet gives a brief history of Māori weaving noting its adaptations to different climatic conditions and fibres, and to the influx of new materials and styles of clothing introduced with the colonial era. Despite these changes, Puketapu writes that the underlying values of the traditional weavers with their acknowledgment of the wairua, mauri, customs, traditions, iwi and hapu, remain the same with contemporary weavers. This publication accompanied the Taonga Māori exhibition of Māori treasures from the collections of the National Museum of New Zealand/Te Whare Taonga o Aotearoa, which toured Australian galleries and museums in 1989-1990.
  • Māori Weaving. Auckland, N.Z.: Pitman, 1989.
  • Puketapu-Hetet writes that this publication is ‘merely a glimpse’ into Māori weaving and that ‘to write about everything would be demeaning to the knowledge that is protected.’ She describes the tikanga and traditions surrounding weaving and notes the modifications made to weaving over the centuries. She discusses the various plants used in weaving and lists the traditional sources for dyes. Other chapters focus on the traditional method of gathering and preparing weaving materials, Te Whare Pora (House of Weaving), and an outline of weaving techniques and weaving products. She concludes with practical instructions and illustrations on how to weave and plait various items, and provides a bibliography and glossary.
  • "From Māori Weaving." An extract rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 282-287.
  • Puketapu-Hetet writes of her introduction into weaving and gives a background to weaving in traditional Māori society and discusses the training given to young weavers today. She talks about flax and the traditional customs and kawa surrounding weaving.
  • "New Zealand Māori Fishing Implements." Fishing Baskets of Asia Pacific. Toronto, Can.: Harbourfront Centre, 1997. 27-29.
  • In this exhibition catalogue essay Puketapu-Hetet gives an overview of traditional Māori fishing customs, fishing equipment and Māori adaptation to introduced European materials. She notes the revival of Māori fishing implements made from traditional material gathered from the bush and the traditional skills being taught in hui by the elders.
  • Other

  • "Erenora Puketapu-Hetet: Te Atiawa." Interview by Darcy Nicholas. Seven Māori Artists. Interviews by Darcy Nicholas and Keri Kaa. Wellington, N.Z.: V. R. Ward, Govt. Printer, 1986. 38-42.
  • Puketapu-Hetet describes her childhood and her training in the art of weaving in the marae setting.


  • Gibbs, Peter. "Erenora Puketapu-Hetet." Listener 18 Feb. 1991: 66.
  • Patterson, John. Unpublished paper. N.d. No details.
  • A Massey University student has written a paper on philosophy and half of the paper is on Erenora Puketapu.
  • "Tradition and Power in Contemporary Pacific Art." Art of the Pacific. Anne D’Alleva. London, UK: Weidenfeld and Nicholson Ltd, 1998. 151.
  • This chapter includes a discussion on the weaving of Puketapu-Hetet on pp. 151, 159.
  • Erai, Michelle, Fuli, Everdina, Irwin, Kathie and Wilcox, Lenaire. Māori Women: An Annotated Bibliography. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Michelle Erai, Everdina Fuli, Kathie Irwin and Lenaire Wilcox, 1991. 26.
  • Reviews

    Māori Weaving
  • Blackman, Margery. "Book Review." New Zealand Crafts 30 (1989): 33.
  • Collins, Jane. "‘Landmark’ Book Opens Old Art Of Māori Weaving." Evening Post 6 June 1989: 4.
  • Wells, Kate. "NZ Craft Books: With hand and heart." NZ Listener 30 Sept. 1989: 60.