Photographer David Cook’s relationship with the North Waikato mining township of Rotowaro began in 1984, when Waikato Museum commissioned him to document the impact of the coal industry. Immersing himself in the life of the township, Cook pursued the documentation over four decades, witnessing the expansion of the mine and consequent demolition of the entire settlement. After 100 years of continuous coal extraction at Rotowaro, the mine was closed and the land rehabilitated as pasture, forestry and lakes. Tainui Holdings purchased the land back from the Crown in September of 2017.
This exhibition draws on the Waikato Museum’s large archive of Rotowaro objects and Cook’s photographs. A new moving image work explores tangata whenua perspectives on the significance of this land in light of economic, ecological and cultural histories.
Education programmes are available for this exhibition.