But it wasn’t their eyes she hoped to make water: Vuyiswa Tulelo said she was proud to become an “irritant in the eyes of the establishment” by promoting women.
She met the Cook Islands National Council of Women, who were moved by her words and how she openly regarded every woman there as a beautiful and soulful sister.
Tulelo encouraged them use their voices to speak out against pay disparity, inequality and violence against women.
Rather than being relegated to the kitchen, Tulelo said women could change the world if they stood together and took what belonged to them.
Tulelo commended the Council’s president Rebecca Hosking-Ellis, who has worked on initiatives like a programme to support women into small arts and crafts enterprises.
She talked about the representation of women in parliament. “Women prefer to be behind the scenes and do the dirty work and let other people take the lime light,” she said.
She urged women to turn around and say, “it’s my time to lead ... We know we can do a much better and quality job.”
Tulelo is a single mother, and insists on bringing her children to official events.
She does this to pave the way for women’s rights and especially for her daughter.
Tulelo said: “What I marvel in doing is ... speaking to the women before me who have fought bigger and deeper battles.”