Since 2015 The Veiqia Project has been researching veiqia, the practice of Fijian female tattooing. This page is an opportunity to regenerate cultural conversations about the practice amongst Fijians.
Please note that the published and unpublished manuscripts resources listed were written by non-indigenous Fijians. For the most part, the authors do not name the person who has shared information with them about the veiqia practice.
We encourage you to ask your family members about the practice of veiqia in your province, yavusa, mataqali, tokatoka and village. You can also contact the iTaukei Institute of Language and Culture at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, and request access to information from the Cultural Mapping Programme. Note, access is given to members of the respective yavusa’s only.
To access resources not available online, check the following libraries in Suva: Fiji Museum, Suva City Library, Fiji Archives, and the University of the South Pacific Library. For those overseas, check with your public library, state or national library or university library. For unpublished manuscripts, contact the holding library or museum directly.
Published and unpublished manuscripts resources
Blackelock, D. (1976, January 1). The sacred turtles of Kadavu. Pacific islands monthly, 47(1), 47.
Brewster, A. B. (1922). The hill tribes of Fiji : a record of forty years’ intimate connection with the tribes of the mountainous interior of Fiji with a description of their habits in war & peace, methods of living, characteristics mental & physical, from the days of cannibalism to the present time. Seeley, Service.
Buckland, A. W. (1888). On tattooing. The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 17, 318–328.
Clunie, F. (1984). Theodor Kleinschmidt. Domodomo, 2(4), 139-145.
Clunie, F. (1981). Veiqia: Fijian women’s tattooing. Fiji Heritage, 5(4), 18‑19.
Clunie, F. (1980, May). Tattoo and cicatrice. Fiji Heritage, 1-14.
Ellis, J. (2008). Tattooing the world: Pacific designs in print & skin. Columbia University Press.
The Evening News. (1871, October 26). Evening News, p. 2.
Ewins, R. (2010). Fijian dress and body modifications. In M. Maynard (Ed.), Berg encyclopedia of world dress and fashion : Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands (Vol. 7). Berg.
Fraser, J. F. (1909, December 23). Quaint subjects of the King : XLIII – customs of tattooing. The Register, p. 8.
Gell, A. (1993). Wrapping in images : tattooing in Polynesia. Clarendon Press.
Gengos, G. V. (1938, January 1). To, and across America. North West Champion, p. 1. 2
Hage, P. E. ., Harary, F., & Milicic, B. (1996). Tattooing, gender and social stratification in micro-Polynesia. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2(2), 335–350.
Jacobs, K. (2021). The flow of things: mobilising museum collections of nineteenthcentury Fijian liku (fibre skirts) and veiqia (female tattooing). In F. Driver, M. Nesbitt, & C. Cornish (Eds.), Mobile Museums: Collections in circulation (pp. 303–327). UCL Press.
Jacobs, K. (2019). This is not a grass skirt : on fibre skirts (liku) and female tattooing (veiqia) in nineteenth century Fiji. Sidestone Press.
Jenkinson, P. (2011). A whales’ tooth from Fiji .
Kleinschmidt, T.(1984). Theodor Kleinschmidt’s notes on the hill tribes of Vitilevu, 1877‑1878 (H, Tischner, Ed., S. Waine, Trans., and F. Clunie, Notes). Domodomo, 2(4), 146-190.
Larsson, K. E. (1960). Fijian Studies. Etnologiska Studies 25. Etnografiska Museet.
Milner, G. B. (1973). Siamese twins and Samoan tattoos. Man, 8(1), 108–108.
Milner, G. B. (1969). Siamese twins, birds and the double helix. Man, 4(1), 5–23.
Raven-Hart, R. (1956). A village in the Yasawas (Fiji). Journal of the Polynesian Society, 65(2), 95-154.
Roth, K. (1933). Some unrecorded details of tatuing in Fiji. Man, 33, 162-163.
Roth, K. (n.d.) Tatuing and cicatrization [Unpublished manuscript]. George Kingsley Roth and Adolf Brewster Brewster: Papers on Fiji (GBR/0012/MS Add.8780/5). Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, England.
Roth, J. (1988). Some liku designs of the 1870s. Domodomo, 1(4), 94‑96.
Scarr, D., & Spriggs, M. (2014). Degei’s descendants : spirits, place and people in pre-cession Fiji (Vol. 41). ANU Press. [see Chapter 13]
Shankman, P. (1972). Siamese twins and Samoan tattoos. Man, 7(2), 314–315.
Sir H. Maxwell on ‘clothes’. (1892, December 12). The Australasian, p. 39.
Sniekers, M. (2005). From little girl to young woman: the menarche ceremony in Fiji. Fijian Studies, 3(2), 397–424.
Spry, W. J. J. (1877). The cruise of Her Majesty’s ship “Challenger” : voyages over many seas, scenes in many lands. Harper and Brothers. [see pages 191-196]
Thompson, L. (1940). Fijian frontier. American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations.
Thompson, L. (1940). Southern Lau, Fiji : an ethnography. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 162. Bishop Museum.
Von Hügel, A. (n.d.). Document – Drawings and notes in Anatole von Hügel’s hand on Fijian tattooing: in envelope dated 30 Sept. 1921 in Mrs. Lock’s hand [Unpublished manuscript]. (VH1/5/6), Cambridge University, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, England.
Wal, A. (2012). Oceanic tattooing and the implied lapita ceramic connection. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 3(1), 1-21.
Waterhouse, J. (1866). The king and people of Fiji; containing a life of Thakombau; with notices of the Fijians, their manners, customs, and superstitions, previous to the great religious reformation in 1854. Wesleyan Conference Office.
Wilkes, C. (1856). Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1841, 1842 (Vol. III). Putnam. [see pages 256-257, 327-328, 352-356]
Interviews, presentations, and publications by The Veiqia Project
Luisa Tora, Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Margaret Aull, and Joana Monolagi, Panel discussion: The Veiqia Project in talanoa, The Physics Room, Christchurch, 25 September 2021.
Luisa Tora on RNZ, The traditional Fijian female tattooing practice of veiqia, 23 September 2021.
Luisa Tora and Abby Cunnane on Art, Not Science, 17 September 2021.
MC Trey speaks to Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo and Fijian culture, October 10 2020.
Tarisi Vunidilo, Fijian Liku (skirt), Peabody Museum, June 17 2020.
Margaret Aull, The Veiqia Project, Ngā Uri o Muturangi: Wānanga Indigenous 7 tattoo Festival, Tauranga, March 2020.
Luisa Tora with Pip Hartley, Julia Mage’au Gray, Tyla Vaeau, Talking Tatau: Mana Wahine Panel, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, March 8 2020.
Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, My anthropology journey: The Veiqia project, University of Hawaiʻi, Laie, 18 May 2019.
Stewart, D. (2019). Marama Dina education resource. Campbelltown Arts Centre.
Stewart, D. (2019). My tattoos helped me feel closer to my Fijian heritage. SBS.
Joana Monolagi and Luisa Tora with Lagi-Maama (Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Barbara Makuati-Afitu), Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, First Fridays, Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland, 2 August 2019.
Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Indigenizing museum ethics: The Veiqia Project, University of Hawaiʻi, Hilo, 9 April 2019.
Dulcie Stewart and Donita Hulme, Caught in mid-conversation: The Veiqia Project, Pacific Arts Association 13th International Symposium 2019, Brisbane, 25-28 March 2019.
Luisa Tora, Papatoetoe Library October’s Tea & Topics, “The Veiqia Project”, Auckland, 18 October 2018.
Joana Monolagi on Radio 531pi, 10 October 2018.
Stewart, D. (2017, November 14). Communities engaging with digitised special collections. University of Queensland Library.
The Veiqia Project artist talk, Fiji Museum, Suva, 11 March 2017.
The Veiqia Project: the practice of Fijian female tattooing, Pacific Studies Seminar, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 9 March 2017.
Margaret Aull, The Veiqia Project, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Research Symposium: Forgotten lines, power, memory and resilience, Rotorua, 2017.
Margaret Aull, The Veiqia Project, Pacific Arts Association Europe Conference, Norwich, 16-18 October 2016.
The Veiqia Project Talanoa + Gunu Sede for Cyclone Winston Relief, ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland, 19 March 2016.
Margaret Aull, Donita Hulme, Julia Mage’au Gray, Joana Monolagi, Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Dulcie Stewart, and Luisa Tora, The Veiqia Project exhibition opening, ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland, 15 March 2016.
Margaret Aull, The Veiqia Project, TOI OHO: Massey University, Collaboration and Collective projects, Palmerston North, 2015.
Margaret Aull, Joana Monolagi, Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Dulcie Stewrt, Ema Tavola, and Luisa Tora, The Veiqia Project: Investigating our tattooed histories, Fiji Museum, Suva, 19 September 2015.
Margaret Aull, Julia Mage’au Gray, Joana Monolagi, Dr Tarisi Sorovi-Vunidilo, Ema Tavola, and Luisa Tora, The Veiqia Project Panel Discussion, Fiji National University School of Creative Arts, Suva, 17 September 2015.
Banner image source: Roth, K. (n.d.) Tatuing and cicatrization [Unpublished manuscript]. George Kingsley Roth and Adolf Brewster Brewster: Papers on Fiji (GBR/0012/MS Add.8780/5). Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, England.
Resources list first published 1 October 2021.