Lakiloko Keakea

Lakiloko Keakea (born 1948) is an artist from Tuvalu, living in New Zealand. She is a member of Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa – the Tuvalu Women’s arts collective.[1]

Lakiloko Keakea
Born1948 (age 7071)
Nui, Tuvalu
ResidenceAuckland, New Zealand
Known forHandicraft
Notable work
'Fafetu' (2012)
AwardsCreative New Zealand Pacific Heritage Art Award (2017)


Keakea was born in 1948, in Nui, Tuvalu. In 1957, Keakea moved to Niutao and in 1971 moved to Kiribati with her first husband. In 1996, she moved to New Zealand and currently lives in Ranui, Auckland.[2]


Keakea is considered a 'mea taulima' artist, meaning that she creates her artwork with her hands, and is a promoter of Pasifika handcrafts.[2][3]

Keakea learned the practise of 'kolose' (crochet) from her mother, at the age of 12, and began making dresses and 'tiputa' (crochet tops). Keakea began making art in the 1950s, after moving to Niutao. Her first works included a belt, baskets, fans and trays. In the 1970s Keakea became active in Fakapotopotoga Fafine Tuvalu, an art group that taught and promoted the art practices of women from the various islands of Tuvalu.[1] she travelled with the group to the Marshall Islands and learn the techniques of making 'fafetu', a star-shaped woven design.[2] Keakea became well known for the practise, including teaching it to other artists.[3]

In 2012 Keakea exhibited alongside several Pacific master artists in 'Home AKL: Artists of Pacific Heritage' at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.[4][3]

Keakea's largest fafetu is held in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.[5] She also has pieces in the collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum.[6]

In 2018, Keakea held a major solo exhibition Fafetu[7] at Objectspace art gallery in Auckland. Fafetu was curated by Malama T-Pole, who promotes Tuvaluan art forms and is a member of the Niutao Community Trust.[1]


In 2017 Keakea won the Pacific Heritage Art Award from the annual Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards.[3][8]


  1. "Interwoven Tuvaluan identity". New Zealand Ministry for the Pacific Peoples. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  2. "Lakiloko Keakea". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  3. "Tuvalu's Lakiloko Keakea wins Pacific Heritage Arts Award". Pacific Guardians. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  4. Māhina-Tuai, Kolokesa U. "Pacific arts in New Zealand". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  5. "Fafetu". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  6. "Lakiloko Keakea". Auckland War Memorial Museum. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  7. "Art: Fafetu, The Traditional Crocheted Patterns of Polynesia by Lakiloko Keakea". Supamodu.
  8. "Arts Pasifika Awards". Creative NZ. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
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