• Joana Monolagi
  • Ole Maiava
  • Daren Kamali

The Ulumate Project features recently created objects and images by the artist collective Na Tolu that reflect the important making practices of iTaukei. This body of work responds to, and re-poses, objects and historic images from museum and research collections to ensure the traditions of iTaukei are not forgotten.

Ulumate or ‘dead head’ describes the ancient practice of human hair wig-making by iTaukei (Indigenous Fijians) that’s been inactive in Fiji for two centuries. Ulumate was traditionally observed during a time of mourning when the drau-ni-ulu (hair) was cut and made into a wig, then worn until the hair beneath grew back. In pre-Christian Fiji, ulu cavu (hair wigs) were also worn in warfare. Post-colonisation, qita (selected men) wore ulu cavu as they stood guard over the village plantation.

Na Tolu, founded by Joana Monolagi, Ole Maiava and Daren Kamali, has been revitalising the practice of ulumate through research informed by ulu cavu held within institutional collections and by historic images of iTaukei.

The Ulumate Project is developed by Objectspace and supported by Creative New Zealand.

Opening Hours

  • Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm
  • Sun: 10am-4:30pm


  • Cnr Norrie & Parumoana streets
  • Porirua