September 21, 2010

Designer Profile | Tutina Pasene

Continuing my feature on Maori designers, I present a family of creative minds who bring Maori fashion to menswear.

Tutina Pasene is the head designer of a family of designers (including her partner and their two sons) who collectively produce the Tutina Pasene fashion line.

The four members each bring their own unique perspective and design aesthetic to the table, creating fantastic and fashionable menswear.

Designer Profile | Tutina Pasene
Based in Otaki, New Zealand, Tutina Pasene™ is a whanau (family) based company of Maori (indigenous peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand) and Polynesian descent. As a whanau company, their core values are cultural integrity, life balance, being unique and special, having sustainability, and koha (unconditional giving).

Tutina Pasene is of Rarotongan, Niuean and Tahitian descents and is the Director of the company, managing garment design and production. Her designs are influenced by her pacific heritage, creating unique contemporary designs. Her life and business partner, Haupokia Grennell of Ngati Maniapoto descent, brings years of business experiences, to Tutina Pasene™ operations.

Their son Rerehau Pasene-Grennell, pictured right, is a graduate in Maori Art and Design from Te Wananga o Raukawa (Maori University). He brings to Tutina Pasene™ his blend of contemporary and traditional influences to produce unique Maori and Pacific designs.

Their younger son Arumaki Pasene-Grennell, pictured left, contributes his graphic design skill to Tutina Pasene™ and combines his flair for infusing youth culture with traditional Polynesian design.

The four leaved design at the bottom of their Tutina Pasene label is a representation of the 'pua' flower found through out the Pacific Islands. This is a representation of Tutina's origins from the mirade of Island in the vast Pacific Ocean which covers thousands of miles of ocean. The pua is positioned within the koru design above it to show the integration of Tutina's Pacific cultures with the Maori origins of her partner and the manifestation of both cultures within their children.

Overall the label is about cultures and people coming together as extended family to work, love and live as one as the creation histories of the pacific state is the natural state for the human race to be live in.

(Maori/Polynesian inspired coat. With thick cummerband and traditional print)
(Long coat with traditional tribal print and leather detailing)
Check out their website at