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Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists (Touring)

Start Date 17 March 2018
End Date 15 July 2018
Venue Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand)
Location Wellington, New Zealand
Curator Nina Tong
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins
Exhibition display of dressed mannequin in a fringed gown in front of exhibition banner. Gallery visitors moving about in back and foreground.

Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists, Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa), Wellington, New Zealand, 17 Mar 2018-15 Jul 2018

The Pacific Sisters is a collective of Pacific and Māori fashion designers, artists, performers, and musicians that electrified 1990s Auckland.

The group began on the fringes, but their ground-breaking style and performances brought the urban lives of a New Zealand–born Pacific generation into the mainstream spotlight.

The Pacific Sisters include ground-breaking artists Lisa Reihana, Rosanna Raymond, Ani O’Neill, Suzanne Tamaki, Selina Haami, Niwhai Tupaea, Henzart @ Henry Ah-Foo Taripo, Feeonaa Wall, and Jaunnie ‘Ilolahia.

They once described themselves as being like the Polynesian version of Andy Warhol’s factory – an ever-evolving collective of artists coming together to create art, music, fashion, and film.

“Our work is a reflection of the ‘spark’ we have had as Pacific Sisters – finding our connections to our Pacific stories, peoples, lands, each other,” Ani O’Neill says.

“For me, Pacific Sisters is a safe space to push boundaries. We might seem a bit hardcore and serious to some, but we have a lot of fun – we like to laugh and play with words as well as frocks.”

This is their first major retrospective.


This exhibition also toured to Auckland Art Gallery, 23 February 2019 — 14 July 2019

Images courtesy of Te Papa Tongarewa, Photos by Kate Whitley / Te Papa.