21st Sentry Cyber Sister

The 21st Sentry Cyber Sister is made up of twenty-seven parts, each created by one of the members of the Pacific Sisters art collective – Rosanna Raymond (Samoa), Ani O’Neill (Cook Islands), and two of the founding members, Suzanne Tamaki (Te Arawa, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Maniapoto); and Niwhai Tupaea (Ngati Katoa).

Says Rosanna Raymond: ‘We gave not only costume pieces, but parts of ourselves. Each individual piece gains strength from coming together with others, like us working together as a group.’

Component parts
Rosanna Raymond made the waistcoat, bra, and anklets; Ani O’Neill made the ‘hula skirt’, two bracelets, choker, and backpack; Suzanne Tamaki made the maro (girdle), cape, headpiece, and ten leg ornaments; and Niwhai Tupaea made the earrings, neck ornament, and two arm ornaments.

The materials reflect Pacific Sisters’ kaupapa (philosophy) of using both natural and processed materials. Old video tape has been re-cycled to make the ‘hula skirt’, whereas some of the accessories are made from feathers and bone.

Past and present
The work of Pacific Sisters reflects the influence of their parents, grandparents, and ancestors, as well as contemporary urban New Zealand.

‘We get our inspiration from our immediate urban/media environment,’ says one member. ‘We don’t stare at coconut trees – we stare at motorways.’

Pacific Sisters
Pacific Sisters is an art collective made up of individuals of Pacific (including Maori) descent. The collective has created a wide range of works, including visual art, film, music, and fashion. It was also involved in the ground-breaking Pasifika fashion show – the first major showcase for Pacific fashion in New Zealand.

Pacific Sisters statement
'The '21st Sentry Cyber Sister' guards the door to our whare. She is the determinator of all who enter. There is no room here for racism, trials and tribulations. Dedicated to the preservation of our tribal culture and our struggle towards self-determination. We recycle resources from our urban environment, traditional and contemporary fibres, to produce distressed deconstructed wearable art pieces that express our uniqueness as an urban tribe. While still following the paths created by our Ancestors. We are united in the cycle where our past meets our futures.'


21st Sentry Cyber Sister 1997
made by Pacific Sisters, made from tapa (barkcloth), huruhuru (feathers), bone, harakeke (New Zealand flax), shells, seeds, coconut shell, videotape, and plastic. Purchased 1997
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