The Project (2003 - 2012)
Tawa was the name Maori bestowed on a remarkable man, more famously known as Captain Gilbert Mair. Through the respect he gained as a linguist, soldier, Court Assessor and humanitarian, tribal communities of the central North Island of New Zealand demonstrated their trust in Mair by presenting him with their most valued taonga – ancestral treasures. Unlike other collectors, Mair – having grown up amongst Maori – understood the importance of receiving such gifts. He ensured the associated narratives remained attached to the taonga after he passed them into the safe-keeping of the Auckland Museum in 1890.

Consequently, each taonga that was in the Ko Tawa exhibition (selected from Mair’s collection of 247) continues to carry a unique story, intimately linking today’s descendants to ancestral landscapes and reminding us of the rich, genealogically-deep history on which our nation is built. Beginning in 2003 out of a Marsden Funded Project, Ko Tawa was designed to bridge past and present: to make these unique taonga accessible to young and older Maori who have grown up away from their home-marae communities. The Ko Tawa Project provided over 120,000 visitors at nine exhibition venues between June 2005 and April 2008 with a unique insight into the contemporary world of the Maori from their marae (source communities) perspective.

In depth information on the Ko Tawa Project from its first conception (2003) to its academically published conclusions (2011) are accessible via this website. It provides a link to the full on-line Ko Tawa Database hosted by the Auckland Museum’s website; PDF files of academic papers on Ko Tawa; web purchase sites for the book entitled: Ko Tawa - Taonga From Our Ancestral Landscapes (Auckland. David Bateman Ltd 2006), the DVD: Ko Tawa – Echoes from our Landscapes and the CD soundtrack titled Te Whiri; a link to Maori Television’s 2009 award-winning Maori Language series (Qantas Media Finalist) titled: Ko Tawa; and a host of other Ko Tawa Project web links.

Ko Tawa te ingoa Maori o tenei tangata rongonui a Captain Gilbert Mair. He tino tohunga reo, hoia, Kaiwhatawa, tohua-tangata hoki. I roto i enei ahua ka whati nga iwi mai i Taupo ki Waiariki ki te awhi; rere ana nga tuku taonga tupuna. He rere ke atu i ana hoa kohi – i tupu ake i te iwi Maori – me te marama ki te tuka rangitira a te Maori. I mohio me haere tahi ano nga taonga me ona korero i te tukanga ke te Tamaki Paenga Hira i te tau 1890.

Koia hoki ia taonga mai i te whakaare Ko Tawa (e 247 katoa), e mau ana ia korero, nga hono ki nga uri o naea nei ki nga tupuna me nga whakapapa mai ano ki a tatou te iwi a tau nei. Ko tenei tikanga Ko Tawa he whakapiri i tenei wa te tera o onamata; ara, kia marama ai nga uri e noho tirara i Te Motu ko wai ratou. He kapu whakaata ki a tauiwi o te ao Maori.

Ko nga korereo whakamarama mo tenei whakaturanga kei roto i nga paetukutuku, DVD me te pukapuka a: Ko Tawa - Taonga From Our Ancestral Landscapes; kei runga hoki i te ipurangi www.kotawa.co.nz ka ahei koe ki te rapu i nga korero hitori mo enei taonga, nga rauemi matauranga me nga atu rauemi hei awhi hei taoutoko hoki.