O’Neill (b.1971, Auckland) ties her Cook Island and Irish heritage together in her practice which spans craft, sculpture, installation, and performance. O’Neill was raised by her Cook Island grandparents; from her grandmother, O’Neill learnt traditional Cook Island craft skills including weaving, lei making, sewing, and the art of tivaevae. In 1994, O’Neill graduated from Elam School of Fine Art with a Major in Sculpture. Her early works reaffirmed the importance of traditional cultural craft skills and commented on O’Neill’s experience as an ‘urban pacific islander.’ As a member of the Pacific Sisters, a collective of Pacific and Māori artists, performers, fashion designers, jewellers and musicians, O’Neill has exhibited and performed at their influential events with the aim of contributing to new voices of self-representation in order to challenge damaging stereotypes. In 2008, O’Neill was accepted into AUT’s Master of Art and Design programme, and was able to study at the University of the South Pacific’s Rarotonga campus through an art and design network programme established by AUT. O’Neill’s prolific and high-profile career has allowed her to exhibit widely in New Zealand and overseas.