News 29 Mar 2018
Bringing to light the Polynesian voyaging triangle to young Tahitians has inspired Matairea and Poevaiva Bessert to launch NESIAN - a Polynesian Clothing Concept, with the aim of inspiring young Polynesians across the Pacific to wear contemporary-styled clothing inspired by the ancient traditions of Polynesia.
They were inspired by their Polynesian ancestors, who voyaged across the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific, reaching Hawaii to the north, Aotearoa to the south-west and Rapa Nui to the south-east, spanning ocean-voyaging distances never achieved by humans before.
“It all began when I learnt about Ra’iatea, and how eight contiki left there to eventually reach Hawaii, Rapa Nui and Aotearoa,” says Matairea, a former teacher who designed the NESIAN logo four years ago.
The three rays which accompany the circle on the brand represent the sails of the three farthest destinations Polynesians reached in ancient times.
Poevaiva says the description resonated with people at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival.
“A lot of people were impressed by the logo and some thought it was a big brand. But they liked it even more when we spoke of the stories behind it.”
Ra’iatea is regarded as the most likely island where organised migrations that eventually reached the farthest points of the Polynesian triangle, originated from. It is represented in the three white bands in the Nesian logo, which form the shape of sails.
Being selected to come to Aotearoa as part of the Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI) mission more than exceeded his expectations.
“A group us came to New Zealand with PTI and companies from our own Chamber of Commerce,” he recalls.
“When I heard about the Pacific Path to Market Mission, which included being part of the Pasifika Festival, we really wanted to be part of it. To be one of the lucky ones chosen was a dream come true.”
And were his expectations met? Despite the weather which reduced crowd numbers from the 60,000 which usually come, they were.
“We really wanted to show what we have and to tell our story,” he says.
“And when we did, people listened. There seems to be more awareness about Polynesia’s navigating history among the Maori and Pacific people I met in Aotearoa, compared to back home.”
It was also a learning experience for Matairea and Poevaiva to meet so many business people from other parts of the Pacific, such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and other Melanesian countries.