Suzanne Tamaki lives in Newtown, Wellington with her cousin Ati Teepa. She is the creative events producer for Wellington City Council and one of the original Pacific Sisters.
SUZANNE: Everybody loves our bathroom, they come to the house and they just want to go. I said to my friend, we should have a party and launch the bathroom, since it’s been redone (our house is really old and the bathroom used to be crusty). I do love the idea of having a bathroom party, we’d have platters of oysters and cocktails inside tiki cups.
I love all the flowers and everything, it reminds me of a wedding chapel in Vegas. I needed somewhere to put the columns and they wouldn’t fit anywhere else in the house. They’re plastic, from the $2 shop, but if anyone wants to borrow them, they are welcome. I dress up as Elvis and do impersonations and I have always wanted to do a show in our bathroom; we could do weddings in the bathroom. Elvis is in the toilet, which is where he died. It’s a tribute.
* At home with film-makers, in love
* At home in a 1900s farmhouse
* At home with author Michele Powles
* At home with Dunedin young professionals, living in Wellington
* Bart Cox lives in a former smoko room.
* At home with two Dunedin English teachers and their kids
* Ayla Hoeta grew up in house of 14. Now she’s a homeowner.
We had an exhibition when I was working at Te Papa which had the most incredible wedding dresses in it and it was the theme for our Christmas party. I was the MC and went as Elvis and it was such fun, I thought I want to keep doing that. I have been doing Elvis impersonations for six years.
Inside the birdcage are two little bird people. I get dolls and take their heads off and put birds’ skulls on them. I have little bird people all around the house. There’s two of them in there with their pet weta. They don’t have names, but I might let my granddaughter go round and give them all names. She’s good at names.
I am just about to send off a bag of jewellery to the Auckland Art Gallery because the Pacific Sisters show is there and my jewellery has been selling out; it’s crazy. I use flowers and recycled objects, organic material like bone and feathers, random things like plastic spoons, curtain hooks, belt buckles and door handles.
I wanted to look like a queen for the photo. It’s my bathroom, I can do that. My necklace is made from plastic forks with a bird’s breastplate in the middle; I like them, they look like little taniwha skulls. You give them a wash and leave them out in the sun and they bleach themselves.
Pacific Sisters: He Toa Tāera | Fashion Activists is on at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki until July 14.