At a young age, Lina moved with her mother and siblings from their Horeke homestead in Hokianga to Mt Roskill in Auckland. It was later, while studying art at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design that she began to explore her connection to Horeke, her father and his death. Lina is technically adept and incorporates techniques and materials that seem commonplace to present stories strongly rooted in her own heritage and personal history that speak across ethnicities. Through her art, Lina creates a dialogue about contemporary Pacific culture as
Works like One Armed Bandit respond to gaming machines tucked away into quiet corners of pubs while I.F addresses instant financing companies that sell Pacific people debt. Koe huhu he matua fifine (mother’s milk) is her ode to Pacific mamas. Celebrating the nurturing link between a mother (the Pacific) and child (the land), each breast is inscribed with Lapita patterns representing the movements of women throughout the Pacific. One way that Lina depicted this quest for spiritual enlightenment is through representations of Tarot cards. The abstract nature of Death and dreamlike essence of The Tower’s atmospheric landscape illustrate Lina’s ability to express a surreal ideology of conscious and subconscious influences in life. She was invited to take part in the worldwide exhibition Cow Parade, where she was given a life-sized cow and created a woven bovine using 600 harakeke (flax leaves). With that move from painting, Lina began to utilise crochet, knitting, and sewing skills taught to her by her mum and nana. Using inexpensive or free materials, Lina explores her Niuean/Māori/Scottish identity and women’s hand crafts by creating works like Tangata whenua -Tangata Pasifika, Polynesian Panthers, and New Zealand Needs Domestic Servants. The series of badges complemented depictions of collector’s souvenir spoons that were not necessarily indicative of the cultures or countries they came from.
She also collaborates with her mother and created a body of work inspired by memories passed from her grandmother through her mother to Lina. For Tahi, Tahi, One, Lina worked with artefacts from the Canterbury Museum and created 3 papier-mâché hiapo (bark-cloth) ponchos to highlight the effects of migration, assimilation, and the loss of identity through loss of language and other effects of colonisation.
Lina has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including: To Be Pacific, Tairawhiti Museum, 2014; Longitude, The Art Studio, Rarotonga, 2007.