Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, weaver, cultural leader. Died aged 65


Erenora Puketapu-Hetet was a major contributor to the Maori cultural renaissance and a key instigator of the push to turn Maori weaving from a craft into an art form.

Her steel wire and paua-shell cloak, made on the theme of the Maori fishing rights settlement, is part of the Eternal Thread exhibition now touring the US.


Mrs Puketapu-Hetet, from the Te Atiawa iwi, grew up in Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt, where she sat with aunts while they wove kono [baskets] for a hangi to raise funds for a new marae.

When the marae was built in the 1950s, Erenora, who had graduated to weaving tukutuku panels, met and married Rangi Hetet, the master carver brought in to help with the job.

They moved to Te Kuiti, where Mrs Puketapu-Hetet was schooled in korowai or cloak-weaving techniques by her husband's grandmother, Rangimarie Hetet.

In the 1980s the family returned to Waiwhetu. Mrs Puketapu-Hetet and her husband conserved works at the National Museum. While there they developed intern programmes to train young Maori in museum skills.

The Hetets then established the Maori Treasures complex at Waiwhetu, providing an outlet for work from marae in the region.

Mrs Puketapu-Hetet was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 for services to weaving.

She is survived by her husband, Rangi, three daughters and a son.