The kete design is produced as a lapel pin worn by Fellows, Companions, Professional Members and staff of the Royal Society of New Zealand. It represents the three Baskets of Knowledge.
(with your basket / with my basket / the people will prosper)
Tāne, the god of the forest, collected three baskets of knowledge from the outer world and brought them back to the world of mortals. The three baskets – te kete-tuatea (basket of light, present knowledge), te kete-tuauri (basket of darkness, things unknown), and te kete-aronui (basket of pursuit, the knowledge humans seek) – must be in balance for us to live harmoniously on Earth.
The design’s three koru (spirals) symbolise the three kete. Its surface pattern depicts the islands of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the ripples in the ocean caused by winds and currents.