Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows


New Zealand Fashion Museum · 'to fashion' intro - Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows

I am:

Sulieti Fieme'a Burrows, 70 years old. I am a Tongan tapa cloth artist in Auckland. I like to collaborate with my artist daughter Tui Emma Gillies and our work has been exhibited around the world and bought by many private buyers and museums. I am from Falevai Village in Vava'u and I am good at creating with my hands. I have lived in New Zealand since 1978 and have two children and five grandchildren. My family is my world.

I am wearing:

I am wearing a freshwater pearl necklace and earrings. I am also wearing a Tongan necklace known as a kahoa heilala, adorned with clay flowers I made myself by hand. Around my waist is a ta'ovala and kafa. The kafa acts as a belt. It is four metres long and is made from coconut husk and platted then decorated with small shells called pueki. My ta'ovala wraps around my waist to my shins and is made from Tongan flax called kie and is very detailed. It was made by a good friend from Ha'apai. I'm wearing J'adore perfume by Dior. You probably think you can't see it. But you can because it makes me smile.

You can catch me on my daughter's page on facebook or instagram: @tuiemmagillies


recorded and filmed by Robert George and The Raro Dog team.

 Portrait by Edith Amituanai, 2022.

Last published March 2022.