Pacific Sisters is an art collective of fashion activists that embrace their Māori, Pacific and Queer identities unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. Formed in 1992, their groundbreaking work weaves Moana-based heritage art and cultural practices into contemporary art forms, a practice which has been instrumental in highlighting the urban style of an Aotearoa-born Pacific generation. The collective has a core of eight to twelve members which can expand according to their projects and availability. Involved in Te Pu o Te Wheke are: Rosanna Raymond, Ema Lyon, Ani O’Neill, Feeonaa Clifton (née Wall), Salvador Brown, Ruth Woodbury, Nephi Tupaea, and Suzanne Tamaki.
This ever-evolving group of multi-disciplinary artists work as individuals across many art forms, film, music, fashion, and delight in coming together to create collaborative opportunities for fashion activism. Their work, encompassing everything from small-scale workshops to large-scale exhibitions, is reflective of the connections they have found with Pacific stories, lands, peoples, and each other, asserting both Tagata Moana and Pākehā identities.
Pacific Sisters have had many notable career highlights, including presenting an opening acti.VĀ.tion for Bottled Ocean in 1994 at Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery, taking a delegation of 40 Pacific Sisters and supporters to the Festival of Pacific Arts in Samoa in 1996, and supporting Lisa Reihana at the Biennale of Sydney opening in 2000. Pacific Sisters’ first major retrospective, Pacific Sisters: He Toa Taera Fashion Activists, was exhibited at Te Papa Tongawera Museum of New Zealand in 2018, and Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery in 2019.