Monday, 2 July 2012

Maori Treasures of New Zealand: Ko Tawa

Maori Treasures of New Zealand honours the man who once carried the name Ko Tawa, Captain Gilbert Mair, and the many significant Maori tipuna ancestors-taonga-that entered his remarkable life.  Mair was careful in preserving an account of the history and circumstances surrounding many of the taonga in his collection, so that taonga and narrative illuminate each other. 

This work includes several references to the Hawke's Bay District with names and photographs of Taonga, affiliated iwi, maps, photographs and writings of taonga history. 

The section I found of particular interest is on page 47 Peka Makarini: Ngati Pahauwera (Mohaka-Wairoa), the Taonga Koauau flute made from the arm bone of Te Kooti buglar Baker McLean (Peka Makarini), who was shot and killed at Waikarawhiti near Tumunui by Mair in February 1870. 

The Koauau was presented to Mair by Ngati Pahauwera at Te Harato in 1874.  “Ko tenei koauau no te ringa katau o to matou ito- Peka Te Maakariri.  He tohu aroha no Nati pahauwera kit e tangata nana I ngaki te mate.  Nana I pare o matou mata”.  “This flute was formed out of the strong right arm bone of Baker MacLean.  A loving gift from Ngatipahauwera tribe to the man who avenged our wrongs and turned our faces from looking askant, to look straight in front!”

Ko Tawa the exhibition opened  in the Auckland War Memorial Museum 2005 to rave reviews, the book and website are easy to follow and very impressive, see and

With photography by Krzysztof Pfeiffer and contributing essays from Ron Crosby, Jade Baker, Roger Neich, Merata Kawharu.  

Check our Catalogue and reserve online
Maori Treasures of New Zealand by Paul Tapsell et al

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