The Tivaevae Collectables Rarotongan family
Kia orana. We are a mother, daughter team, Kathrine and Anne. We are delighted to welcome you to our little slice of Pacific Paradise. We started Tivaevae Collectables in 2005 after seeing a gap in the market for good quality Pacific influenced bedcovers. The resorts in our home Island of Rarotonga, in particular, needed quality machine washable bedcovers with the WOW factor.
Kathrine’s grandmother Rose Estall decorated her beautiful home with many Tivaevae (also called Tivaivai or if you are Tahitian or Hawaiian Tifaifai). The signature hibiscus pattern that is the basis of all Tivaevae Collectables’ products was her favourite, and it is on her ancestral land in Nikao, Rarotonga that our family home and showroom are now built.
Together we have created a new generation of tivaevae – one that is practical, affordable and sensational.
Traditional hand embroidered tivaevae take years to make and are more for ceremonial than everyday use. Rarely for sale, the locally made tivaevae cost $7000+ to buy. We therefore needed to look overseas for expert sewers to make our products.
The Tivaevae Collectables Balinese family
Our global search for the best embroiderers brought us to Indonesia where we met Hendra and his family in Bali. Hendra’s village Penebel, Tabanan had been badly affected by the economic downturn of the Bali bombings but since working with Tivaevae Collectables he now provides employment to 11 expert sewers from the local area.
Hendra’s wife Nyoman and Papa Pekak Riska are an important part of the team which also includes solo mothers – all able to work from home and support their families with a good wage.
The sewers take great pride in their work and truly enjoy being part of a successful growing business. They even have a team mascot – a dog they have affectionately named Raro.
We have a wonderful friendship with this lovely Balinese family and are very proud that we have been able to help such a deserving and lovely group of people.
The growth of Tivaevae Collectables
We started selling our wares at an open air stall at the local Rarotongan “Punanga Nui Market” on Saturday mornings.
By 2009 the interest in the machine embroidered, hard wearing tivaevae products had increased ten-fold and we were getting interest from interior designers in Auckland, New Zealand. It was also at this time that well-known interior designer Penny Vernon of Vernon Design started to mentor Kathrine and I.
Together we decided on colour combinations that reflect the vibrancy, colours and moods of the Pacific. Penny and her daughter Nicki visited Hendra’s team while on a trip to Bali and gave the sewers a big tick of approval for their high quality workmanship.
Penny has introduced Tivaevae Collectables products to many of her special clients – including the Colin McCahon Arts residency house in Titirangi.
In 2009 the business expanded to include a shop and showroom at our home in Nikao, Rarotonga which has become a regular stop-off point for locals, tourists and the local resort buses. An office run by Kathrine in Auckland helps service the large New Zealand market.
The high quality products combined with our hard work and excellent customer service has seen Tivaevae Collectables go from strength to strength ever since.