Rangimārie Hetet

Dame Rangimārie Hetet DBE (née Hursthouse, 24 May 1892 14 June 1995) was a New Zealand Māori tohunga raranga (master weaver). She identified with the Ngati Maniapoto iwi.

Dame Rangimārie Hetet

Rangimārie Hursthouse

(1892-05-24)24 May 1892
Oparure, King Country, New Zealand
Died14 June 1995(1995-06-14) (aged 103)
OccupationTohunga raranga
Tuheka Taonui Hetet
(m. 1911; died 1938)
Parent(s)Charles Wilson Hursthouse
Mere Te Rongopamamao Aubrey
RelativesDiggeress Te Kanawa (daughter)

Hetet was born in Oparure, King Country, New Zealand on 24 May 1892, the daughter of Charles Wilson Hursthouse and Mere Te Rongopamamao Aubrey.[1] Through her father she was a niece of Richmond Hursthouse and Henry Robert Richmond. As her father was generally away for survey work, she grew up amongst Ngati Kinohaku, a hapū (sub-tribe) of Ngati Maniapoto. In 1899, her father instructed for her to live with a European family at Paemako near Piopio, where she started her schooling. She was unhappy with the arrangements and a year later, she moved to live with an older half-sister in Kāwhia. After breaking her arm aged nine, she returned to live with her mother, and attended Te Kuiti Native School and then Oparure Native School.[1] She was taught the art of weaving korowai (dressed flax cloaks) by her mother.[1]


On 16 February 1911, she married the carpenter Tuheka Taonui Hetet at Oparure. He was descended from a French whaler. They had two children before he went to fight in World War I, and another three after his return. He was affected by gas poisoning and died suddenly in 1938.[1]

In the 1950s Hetet escalated her weaving efforts as a result of encouragement received from the Māori Women's Welfare League. From that time onward she began to regularly produce cloaks and other items. She passed her knowledge on to and helped train her daughter Diggeress Te Kanawa in the art of weaving.[2] Hetet passed on her detailed knowledge of the different types of flax and other plants that provide the material to be weaved as well as how to produce and fix dyes to the fibres in preparation for weaving.[3]


Hetet was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1973 Queen's Birthday Honours,[4] promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1984 Queen's Birthday Honours,[5] and finally, in the 1992 Queen's Birthday Honours, elevated to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[6] In 1993, Hetet was awarded the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal.[7]


  • Contemporary Maori Art Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton (1976)[2]
  • Craft New Zealand Europe (1978–1980)[2]
  • Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa: Korowai Weavers Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton (1979)[2]
  • South Pacific Festival Port Moresby Museum, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (1980)[2]
  • Feathers and Fibre Rotorua Art Gallery, Rotorua (1982)[2]
  • E Nga Uri Whakatupu - Weaving Legacies: Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. (2014)[8]


  1. Putaranui, Atawhai. "Rangimarie Hetet". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  2. Foster, Susan; Gorbey, Ken (1985). Treasures from the land : crafts from New Zealand, Barry Brickell ... [et al.] Wellington: Printing by Service Printers. ISBN 0477037003.
  3. "Royal Society Te Apārangi - Rangimārie Hetet". royalsociety.org.nz. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  4. London Gazette (supplement), No. 45985, 22 May 1973; retrieved 6 February 2013.
  5. London Gazette (supplement), No. 49769, 15 June 1984; retrieved 6 February 2013.
  6. "No. 52953". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1992. pp. 29–36.
  7. "The New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993 – register of recipients". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  8. "Major Exhibition Celebrates New Zealand's Finest Traditional Maaori Weavers". Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
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