The costume

Black and white image of a woman wearing a costume
Ko e teunga maa’imoa ‘o Pilinisesi Fusipala | the dancing costume of Princess Fusipala

Princess Lātūfuipeka describes the dancing costume of Princess Fusipala.

Princess Lātūfuipeka: Princess Fusipala’s tau’olunga costume was well designed and prepared for her coming to Australia. Traditionally we use tapa cloth, leaves and flowers for dancing costumes which may only last a day, therefore a lot of work and thought has been put into this costume. What may be missing from this tau’olunga costume is the bracelets, anklets, head piece or comb and the necklace.

The girdle or sisi is made of short strands of plaited hibiscus fibre with a waist belt of 100 centimetres, stringed with lopa and hana seeds of about 30 centimetres long hanging down with a tassel-like finish at the end 

The upper part of the tau’olunga costume covers from the shoulder to the waist. This was made of natural coloured hibiscus fibre and red dyed hibiscus fibre. The pattern is of a traditional garland called Nusi with an inner tapa cloth lining 

The no’o is used to tie the upper and lower parts of the tau’olunga costume together on the waist and is made of tapa cloth.

This is the lower part of the tau’olunga costume covering from the waist over the knees and also made from natural and red dyed hibiscus fibre. The pattern is of a traditional kupesi | design called Manulua with an inner tapa cloth lining.

This traditional helu or comb is made of coconut midribs and black dyed coconut husk sennit fiber threads.

Connect with Museums Victoria

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest news about our exhibitions, special events, programs and offers.