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Three Kete

Three Baskets of Knowledge

At Papatoetoe East these baskets, and our mural, acknowledge our connection and sense of belonging to our community and our Maori heritage.

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The three baskets of knowledge, along with two small stones, were brought back to earth by Tane when he returned from his climb to the highest heaven after his parents, Ranginui and Papatuanuku, were separated.

The first basket was called: Te Kete Aronui, contains the knowledge of our senses: what we experience in the world before us, the natural world held by our senses.

The second basket was called: Te Kete Tauri, provides our understanding of what lies beyond our sensory experiences, the complex patterns of energy which operate behind our sense perceptions, the realities behind the colours, shapes, smell and sounds we perceive. It is the knowledge of “the real world,” but a world of cosmic processes and the rhythmic patterns of energy which uphold and sustain life.

The third basket was called: Te Kete Tuatea, is the experience we have of our connections with one another and with the past, the knowledge of our spiritual realities, realities beyond space and time, and the world we experience through ritual.

In Maori Legend

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This mural, created by Year 5 students in 2012, is displayed on our van Wijk Room.

When Täne decided to climb up to the heavens to seek the baskets of knowledge for mankind, his brother Whiro was angry. Whiro thought he had more right to the baskets than Täne, because he was the elder brother. The two brothers struggled for power, but it was Täne who was favoured by Io,(eeor) the supreme, or highest power, so Täne was allowed to climb the twelve heavens. His task was made more difficult by Whiro who sent plagues of insects, reptiles and carrion-eating birds to attack Täne. But Täne, with the help of the winds, was able to continue until he reached the summit of all the heavens. Here, at Toi-ö-ngä-rangi, he was welcomed by Io (eeor) and received the three baskets of knowledge and the two sacred stones.

The baskets, or kete were -
The kete-aronui which held all the knowledge that could help mankind
The kete-tuauri which held the knowledge of ritual, memory and prayer
The kete-tuatea which contained knowledge of evil that was harmful to mankind.

The stones, or whatukura, (eyes of knowledge) held the power of knowledge and added mana (prestige) to the teaching and learning of knowledge. On his return journey, Täne was again attacked by Whiro and his followers, the birds and insects. Täne would have been defeated if the winds had not once more, come to his rescue. The winds blew the birds and insects back down to earth where they remain today. When Täne finally reached earth again he placed the baskets and stones in a special house of knowledge - whare kura, which he had built before his journey to the heavens. Whiro was back on earth too, and he demanded that he should be the one to take care of the treasures. But Täne and his supporters refused Whiro's demands and Whiro was eventually banished to the underworld where he still lives, and continually tries to cause trouble for gods and mankind. Tane-te-wänanga-ä-rangi (Täne, bringer of knowledge from the sky) was left to keep order on earth.