• Dulcie Stewart, Jasmine Togo-Brisby, Luisa Tora, Salote Tawale and Tufala Meri

The exhibition WANTOK displays Melanesian knowledge and practice in the diaspora, looking at shared cultural values expressed through relationships to hair.

In many Pacific cultures, the head and hair are considered sacred and infused with spiritual and symbolic meaning. Various events mark rites of passage through hair, such as marriage, mourning and coming-of-age: young women of the Lau group in Fiji wore virgin locks until they married; chiefly Fijian men cut their hair during a mourning period; and in parts of the Solomon Islands, teenage boys undergo a haircutting ceremony to signify their transition to manhood. The artists in WANTOK, Dulcie Stewart (Fiji/Australia), Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Vanuatu/Aotearoa New Zealand), Luisa Tora (Fiji/Aotearoa New Zealand), Salote Tawale (Fiji/Australia) and Tufala Meri (Reina and Molana Sutton, Solomon Islands/Aotearoa New Zealand), display Melanesian knowledge and practice in the diaspora, addressing issues of decolonisation, gender and beauty through the cultural values associated with hair.

Opening Hours

  • Open Daily 10am–5pm


  • 45 Laings Road
  • Lower Hutt, New Zealand