Women from kupesi making workshop holding their certificates

Kupesi Making Skills to preserve Tongan Culture and Build Economic Empowerment

Banner image: 4th from left ‘Apikale Vaka (Kupesi Making Trainer) 

Tonga Skills congratulated 11 women from the Eastern district of Tongatapu who successfully completed training on Tapa (Kupesi) Making and how they can use their new skills to start up a small business.

Trainer Mrs. ‘Apikale Vaka learned the skills of designing kupesi faka-Tonga (motifs) from her mother, “l want to teach others about tapa making and producing handicrafts using the proper traditional methods and materials. It’s a way of reviving and preserving traditions that can be passed down from generations to generations.”

Selected women from various villages of the Eastern district come together at the Malia & Finau centre in ‘Alakifonua for a two-week course on creating Kupesi Tapa designs in ways that will respond to domestic market demand.

Mrs Vika Fusimalohi, Trainer

Image: Vika Fusimalohi (Business Planning Trainer)

The training incorporated  basic skills in small business planning, including market assessment and basic financial management.

Mrs. Koheleti Falemaka, trainee

Image: Mrs. Koheleti Falemaka (Trainee)

Trainee Mrs. Koleti Falemaka (55) of Lapaha, has been selling handicrafts in her village for many years. However, the training has brought her to another new level and she is now using her new skills in making kupesi faka-Tonga to innovatively decorate a “kato teu” (traditional basket), with an estimated market value  of over a thousand pa’anga.