The outfit is distinctly Victorian. A high, vintage lace collar with ruffles cascades over the lapel of a black tailcoat. But it is not meant to be a throwback.
For Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, the co-leader of Te Pati Maori, a New Zealand political party, it is a reclamation of the era when her ancestors first engaged with the British, who began colonizing New Zealand in the early 1800s. She has worn this attire, plus a top hat, in Parliament.
“When you want to get a message out fast, fashion is a way to do it,” she said.