In Māori culture, among other things, our genealogy (whakapapa) corresponds to what Awa (river) our iwi (tribe) affiliates to. When acknowledging other iwi at a hui (meeting) our mihi (introduction) establishes these facts and pays respects to the close relationship we have with these natural entities and honours them as tipuna (ancestors).
Ko au te awa (I am the river) understands we are the water we put in our tea. Our connection to it is the same globally because of our interaction and dependence of it. It is the connecting element in the mass production and global consumption of tea but also in the interwoven intricacies of life.
As seen below, four different teas were used in the making of Ko au te awa (I am the river)