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Voices of Tāwhirimatea

Writer: Maria Winder

Curriculum Focus: Music

Curriculum Level: 2-3

Years 4-6

Duration: 4-5 weeks.

Includes 10 integrated tasks, plus activities for extension

Focus for the Unit: How can Māori sound traditions be represented in Waiata?

This unit focuses on traditional Māori musical instruments that carry sounds (pūoro) connected to the natural world e.g. earth, sky, wind, rain, rain, plants and animals. The voices of Tāwhirimatea, the God of winds, are represented by Māori wind instruments such as kōauau, pūtōrino and nguru. Through a variety of learning experiences, students will explore the use of traditional Māori instruments, sing and accompany songs and create a digital soundtrack using hand-made taonga pūoro.

Curriculum Links

Written Language
Te Reo Māori: Read and analyse song lyrics
English: Read and summarise information, explanations and instructions on how to make and use traditional Māori instruments.
Visual Language
Present findings from investigation electronically and in paper form. Represent music with visual symbols.
Oral Language
Share ideas with others about how sounds are made and combined to create music.
Physical World: Investigate the features of sound makers and musical instruments that allow them to produce different sounds and vibrations.
Measurement and Algebra: Analyse the structure of songs and use measures in music software to sequence and align tracks of music.
Visual Arts
Making of Māori instruments, discussion and analysis of decorative patterns and whakairo (carving patterns).


Students will be encouraged to value diversity, as found in our different cultures languages and heritages.

Key competencies

Thinking – Students will analyse simple songs and create graphic scores of Māori waiata to explore the elements of music and consider how they can be used to manipulate sound.
Relating to others – Students will work collaboratively to explore the use of Māori instruments and to create a soundtrack using music recording software.
Understand language symbols and text – Students will use song lyrics, graphic symbols and music sequencing software to read and recreate music.

Specific learning outcomes for music

Students will be able to:

  • Identify sounds and describe features of songs and recordings
  • Sing and accompany songs using movement, body percussion and other sound sources
  • Make a Māori wind instrument and describe the process
  • Explore sounds and their effects through playing instruments
  • Represent sounds in a graphic score
Specific e-learning outcome

The students will learn to:

  • Record sound using Garageband (or similar programme)
Achievement objectives: Music Level 2

Understanding Music in Context (UC)
Explore and share ideas about music from a range of sound environments and recognise that music serves a variety of purposes and functions in their lives and in their communities.
Developing practical knowledge in Music (PK)
Explore and identify how sound is made and changed, as they listen and respond to the elements of music and structural devices.
Developing ideas in Music (DI)
Improvise, explore, and express musical ideas, drawing on personal experience, listening and imagination.
Explore ways to represent sound and musical ideas.
Communicating and interpreting in Music (CI)
Share music making with others, using basic performance skills and techniques.
Respond to live and recorded music.

Suggested learning sequence

The following tasks could be completed as a whole class, by individual students, or in groups:

Extension activities
  • Create a soundscape to enhance the retelling of the legend of 'The Winds of Tāwhirimatea'
  • Create music that imitates native NZ birdsong
Teacher preparation

Teaching Māori content provides an opportunity to encourage Māori students, parents and whanau to be involved in student learning by sharing their knowledge. Find out if there are parents and other whanau who would be willing to share their knowledge of Māori instruments and music.

Display photos of the Digistore resources listed.

Prepare a digital or poster display of the Digistore photographs of Māori instruments with the following headings:
What do we know about kōauau, nguru and other Māori wind instruments?
What we would like to know about these instruments?

Display the information you collect during the unit so that others can share new knowledge. E.g. Make a wall display or folder showing photographs, diagrams, instructions, key vocabulary, graphic scores, explanations, song lyrics and translations.

And / Or
Create a shared on-line workspace on a website, or wiki using photos, text, graphics, music and other sound recordings to share information.
In 2009, archeologists discovered some bone flutes in China that were estimated to be over 9,000 years old. Students might choose to compare Māori instruments with traditional wind instruments from other cultures.

Task 1

Explore sounds made by blowing into different instruments and identify and imitate sounds that are created naturally by wind and by birds

E.g. Whistle through cupped hands, blow across or into bamboo (4-6cm pieces), glass bottles of different sizes, bones, gourds, conch shells, kōauau and nguru (if available), recorders, whistles, flutes, clarinets, oboes and other wind instruments.

  1. Listen to the wind whistling through trees, plants (e.g. flax or bamboo) and other natural and man-made artifacts.
  2. Listen to and identify the calls of different birds and imitate them using voices.
  3. Make a vocabulary list for describing sounds produced by different instruments and natural sound sources, e.g. gentle, haunting, piercing, calm, soothing, mysterious

Teacher note
Before using instruments, discuss ways of 'keeping ourselves safe' from the spread of germs e.g. using disinfectant wipes to clean an instrument after use.
Take photos of students creating and investigating wind sounds. Have students write descriptions of how sounds were produced.
Record the sounds of wind instruments being played by students and sounds that occur naturally in the environment. Create a quiz for matching a sound to its sound source. Upload the sound recordings and information to your shared on-line workspace.

Focus questions
How is sound created naturally by the wind?
How do you distinguish between birdsongs?
Can you identify high and low sounds?
How can you imitate these sounds?
How can you make a sound using a wind instrument?
Do you blow across the top of the instrument or sideways across it, or directly into it, or by some other method?
What do you do with your lips (tightly pursed or relaxed) to make the sound? How do you play a conch shell as opposed to a piece of bamboo, a recorder or a clarinet?

Reflection for students
How well can we recognise each sound, the differences between them, the similarities between them? What are the cues we pick up as we listen?

Task 2

Listen to Māori instruments being played and find out how they can be used

Go to http://www.Māori.org.nz/waiata . Select 'instruments' from the menu on the website or at http://www.tahaa.co.nz . Select 'taonga pūoro' from the menu. You will be able to listen to a variety of traditional Māori instruments.

  1. List the instruments that are most similar to the ones in the Digistore photographs.
  2. Copy and paste or draw pictures of the instruments and describe the similarities and differences.

Teacher note
Refer to the metadata record for the 'Playing Taonga Pūoro' resource for more information that can be shared with your students. Encourage students to find answers to the following questions:
What feelings or emotions do the sounds of kōauau or nguru evoke?
What materials were these instruments made from?

The metadata record mentions the legend of Tutanekai and Hinemoa.

Reflection for students
What relevance do these instruments have to this legend and to other Māori legends?

Task 3

Listen to songs that feature the use of Māori instruments and describe how they are used

Possible waiata:
'Karanga Weka'
'Poi Awhiowhio'

Teacher note
The songs listed above are recordings that have been supplied free to schools by the Ministry of Education, through Learning Media on Kiwi Kidsongs 101 DVD-Rom (2007).
Using the DVD-Rom Kiwi Kidongs 101, print the lyrics (words) of a song that you have listened to and find the translation of the Māori text.
Songs could be compiled into a big book for the class to refer to.
The musical element of tone colour (also called timbre) refers to the quality of sound of an instrument or sound source.

Reflection for students
What music vocabulary can we use to describe sounds?
What other language can we use to describe what we hear?
How can we distinguish between sounds e.g. the difference between a recorder and a conch shell?
How are the instrumental sounds being made in the recording?
Does the musician blow, pluck, strum, strike, shake or scrape the sound source?
What material/s are each instrument or sound source made from? Could the materials be natural e.g. wood, plant, rock, bone, skin?
Why did the composer chose to use those particular instruments?
Which instruments could we use to create a similar sound?
Which instruments made the best sounds when we played them?
What have we noticed about how we make sounds with the instruments we have explored?

Task 4

Suggestions for learning a new song

  1. Listen to the song and talk about its meaning.
  2. Chant the words rhythmically, with correct pronunciation.
  3. If there is a repeated chorus, sing the chorus along with the recording each time.
  4. Feel the beat (steady pulse) of the song by moving or playing to the beat as you listen.
  5. Show the pitch movement (high or low) in the melody by moving your hand up and down as the melody moves higher or lower. E.g. In the song 'Hutia', the melody moves up in the first phrase and down again in the second phrase.
  6. In groups make up a movement or body percussion sound to accompany each line of text. If the text is repeated, then the movement or sound is repeated.
  7. Listen to the beginning of the song. Hum the note the first word starts on to check you are going to start singing at the correct pitch.
  8. Sing the whole song and note any tricky bits that might need to be practised.

Reflection for students
How well are we singing in tune and in time together with the recording?
Are our words clear?
How well can we include movement or body percussion to fit in with the text/lyrics?

Task 5

Analyse the musical arrangement of a song

  1. Listen again and identify when the lyrics are sung and the instrumental sounds are added. Indicate on the song lyrics sheets where the instrumental sounds are played. Can you imitate these sounds with voices or with other sound sources?
  2. Describe the form (structure) of the song. Are any sections of the song repeated e.g. chorus or instrumental idea? If so, when do the repeats occur?
  3. Describe the tempo (speed of the pulse). Does the tempo change during the song i.e. get faster or slower.
  4. Describe the dynamics (loud or soft volume). Do the dynamics change during the song?
  5. Describe the texture (thick or thin sound). Can you hear more than one sound playing at a time? Are the instruments all playing the same musical pattern or are several musical patterns woven together? How does the arrangement of sounds help to convey meaning in the music, e.g. theme, mood, contrast?

Teacher note
Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 and ask students to select a song from the following list of songs from Kiwi Kidsongs 101.
'Karanga Weka'
'Poi Awhiowhio'

Focus question
What sounds can you hear in the music, e.g. instruments, voices singing or chanting, sound effects?

Reflection for students
Can we imitate the sounds of instruments with our voices?
Can we imitate some of the rhythms in the song, using body percussion?
Can we keep in time with the beat using body percussion?
Can we chant the words in time with each other?
Can we sing together in time with the recording?
How did the movements we chose reflect the mood of the music?
What was my favourite part of the song? Why?
What was the most difficult part of the song to learn? Why?

Task 6

Create a graphic score to represent the musical arrangement of a song

  1. Continue to work in groups. Use a large sheet of paper, or create a Word document, or Excel spreadsheet to create a graphic score (sound picture).
  2. Write out the lyrics for your selected song and leave a large space below and above the words to show the other sounds that are being played as the words are sung.
  3. Create graphic (visual) symbols for each instrumental sound and show each sound source as a separate line in the score.

Note: If using an Excel spreadsheet or a table in a Word document, print the lyrics in the middle row of the table and the instrumental sounds above and below the lyrics.

Bellbird Kōauau --> --> -->
Lyrics Hutia te rito Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Hum or Pumotumotu Mmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm

Focus questionsHow does the song start? When do the song lyrics start and stop? Do instruments accompany the singing all the time?

Reflection for studentsHow can we use lines, pictures and shapes to represent sound? How do we go about deciding what graphic symbols to use for each sound? When we created a graphic score, how did we decide where to put each graphic symbol? Why are some parts of our graphic scores busier than others?

Task 7

Use music software to analyse and alter a sound recording

Add your own sounds to a sound file by creating a new track and recording sounds as you listen to the song using earphones or by copying a sound recording and pasting it into the song.

Focus questions
Why do you think the sound waves change from thin to thick?
Where in the sound file does the singing start? How do you know?

Teacher note
All of the songs on the DVD-Rom Kiwi Kidsongs 101 are wave files and can be dragged into an audio production and mixing programme, such as Garageband (Mac), Acid Express (PC) or Audacity (PC).
A simple way to see an arrangement of a piece of music in a graphic way is to drag or copy a music wave file into Garageband (Mac), or Acid Express (PC)

'Hutia' Graphic score
The vertical squiggles represent sound waves. The example shown is of the first 2 phrases of the song 'Hutia'.

The recording starts with the sound of a bellbird being played on a kōauau, then a single female voice sings the lyrics accompanied by a single note played on a pumotumotu. The bellbird sound is heard throughout the song in between lyrics.

Reflection for students
How do we decide where in the score to add live sounds?
How could we explain the process for adding a new track to the sound file to someone else?
What sounds can we add to the recording e.g. voice, body percussion, environmental sounds, electronic sounds, pre-recorded loops, live instruments?
After completing this task
How did we decide which sounds to add?
Did the song sound better or worse and why? What changes did we make to the texture, dynamics and mood of the music? How did this improve the music?
What else did we discover that the software could do?
How could we use the software in other classroom activities?

Task 8

Create your own Hue Pongaaihu or Kōauau

Instructions: How to make a hue pongaaihu

Use ordinary classroom clay.

  1. Roll and massage a ball of clay, about the size of a medium potato in your hands to warm the clay and make it supple.
  2. Start moulding the sound hole by pressing your index finger into the middle and creating a hollow puku (belly) on the middle of the ball. Be careful not to make the hole at the top any wider than your index finger. A large hole can be difficult to close (as can be seen on the video).
  3. The clay shape will start to look like a gourd as the belly is formed and the sides become thinner. To reduce the size of the sound hole at the top, place your index finger inside the hole and gently massage the clay towards the middle, using your thumb on the outside and little finger on the inside.
  4. Decorate the hue, using a stick or skewer before the clay dries. It can be played before the clay dries. The clay will dry naturally and does not need to be fired in order to be played.
  5. To play your hue, place the sound hole to the side of your mouth, facing upwards and whistle sideways across and into the hole.

Possible alternative instrument to make

Make your own kōauau Reference : School Journal Part 4, Number 2, 1997. In this article, Richard Nunns explains how to make your own kōauau from a shank-bone.

  1. Ask your butcher or an adult to saw off the end of a shank-bone (sheep, goat or deer).
  2. Boil and scrape out the bone then leave to dry thoroughly.
  3. Mark in the finger holes with a pencil, using the joints of your finger as a guide for the spaces between holes.
  4. Use a 3mm bit to drill the holes you have marked.
  5. Use sandpaper to smooth and polish your instrument.
  6. Use the diagram in the article to help you play your kōauau. The body of the kōauau is to the side of your mouth. Your lips are in the shape you would use if you were going to whistle. Blow gently forwards.

Teacher note

Nga Toi Pūoro Exemplars. These exemplars are recorded in Te Reo Māori and were intended for Māori medium use. However, the video examples demonstrate how a taonga pūoro Māori is crafted and used. This instrument is Te hue pongaaihu, made from ordinary classroom clay.
Select the appropriate Kps (Kilobytes per second) to open the Quicktime video demonstrations. Kps relates to the speed with which your computer can download data from the internet.
Whitiaahua 1: Listen to a student describe the significance of using a Taonga Pūoro and the carving patterns used to decorate the instrument.
Whitiaahua 2: Rawiri Toia describes how to use Te hue pongaaihu.
Whitiaahua 3:Rawiri Toia describes how to make Te hue pongaaihu

Reflection for students
How well can we explain how to make a Māori wind instrument?
What are some of the challenges of making an instrument?
If we were to make another instrument, would we do anything differently and why?

Task 9

Explore and record the sound of wind instruments

  1. Practise making sounds with traditional and handmade wind instruments.
  2. Try varying the pitch (high/low sounds) and dynamics (volume) by adjusting the airflow and pressure. If the instrument has holes in it, try covering different combinations of holes to adjust the pitch.
  3. Compare wind instruments of different sizes and shapes and record the different sounds they make.

Reflection for students
What do we know about how traditional Māori instruments are made?
How could we describe the sound of the instrument we made?
What helped us to make the best sound from the instrument?
How does size and shape affect the sound?
Why do other people's instruments sound different from ours, even though we followed the same instructions?

Task 10

Add live instrumental sounds to the recording of a known song, using Garageband or similar software programme

  1. Drag or copy a wave file recording of a Waiata from one of the suggested Kiwi Kidsongs 101 recordings into a new file on your music software programme.
  2. Watch the wav (waveform) file as you listen to the recording and identify the points at which kōauau or other wind instruments are used to accompany and create effects in the music.
  3. Create a 'new basic track' and make a live recording of your own taonga pūoro to the recording mix at the appropriate points in the song.

Teacher note
This task can be completed in small groups around a computer, or by individuals. Teachers may need to demonstrate how to use the software to create a recorded arrangement of a song.

Reflection for students
How did adding the sound of our live instruments affect the song?
What could we do to improve the sound of the new track we added?
How could we explain to someone else how to add a new track?
What did we enjoy most about using the music software?
If we used this software again, what would we like to do?

Extension activities

Read 'The winds of Tāwhirimatea', found in Connected 1/2004, published by Learning Media.

Find out about the carvings found on Māori instruments. Two of the Digistore assets identify links between playing of kōauau and nguru and specific Māori peoples. Ask students to locate on a New Zealand map where descendants of Nga Puhi iwi (Northland) and Ngati Purou (East Coast of North Island) might live. Google Earth could be used locate these regions.

Tihore Mai, a waiata by Hirini Melbourne and arranged by Moana and the Moa Hunters, is recorded on Into Music 1, MOE, 2001.

Use a sound mixer to manipulate sound
Visit this website and refer to the resource Te Ao Hurihuri (Māori Creation Story). Select 'Launch Interactive'. The Sound Mixer (Whakaranu Pouro) provides an opportunity for students to manipulate layers of sound, including electronic kōauau to enhance a song 'He Tangata, He Atua'.
The buttons:
katia - closes the screen and goes back to the Te Ao Hurihuri story.
kaha matua - is the master volume
square shape - stops the music
triangle shape - starts the music
Operating the sound mixer:
Each slider controls the volume of each track. Play with the settings to mix the music.

Useful resources

music glossary (RTF 75 KB)

The Ministry of Education website Te Kete Ipurangi, TKI, has a list of useful Māori education resources

TKI recommend the electronic Māori dictionary by Herbert and Williams "A Dictionary of Māori Langauge".

Suggested Music Resources that include the use of Māori instruments
  • Ministry of Education (2000) The National Anthem, CD recording for NZ schools. Wellington.
  • Ministry of Education (2004) He Waiata ma te Katoa; Songs for Everyone by Hirini Melbourne. Wellington: Learning Media (Book, Posters and CD).
  • Ministry of Education (2007) Kiwi Kidsongs 101, DVD-Rom. Wellington. Learning Media.
  • SOUNZ (2001) Ears Wide Open - Taringa Areare The Centre for New Zealand Music, Wellington. A new guide for levels 1-4 and particularly Years 1-8. Order from SOUNZ PO box 10042, Wellington.
  • Flintoff (2004)

Taonga Pūoro – Singing Treasures ISBN 978 1 877333 14 9 Available from SOUNZ
Taonga Pūoro – Singing Treasures: The musical instruments of the Māori is the first book to be published that comprehensively covers the world of Māori musical instruments, a fascinating and little-known area of traditional Māori culture.

  • This book has been written by master carver and instrument maker Brain Flintoff, and was inspired by the late Dr Hirini Melbourne, one of the leaders of the modern revival of this art form.
  • Taonga Pūoro includes background to the tunes played on these instruments and the families of natural sounds with which they are associated. It is heavily illustrated with colour photographs of exquisite instruments and comes with a CD sampler, compiled from a selection of recent releases and featuring tracks of contemporary Māori music and the natural sounds which inspire them.
  • Brian Flintoff is a local Nelson master bone carver whose work is held on marae throughout Aotearoa and in private and public collections and museums throughout the world

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Resources:

  • Kōauau (flute)

    Description This is an intricately carved wooden kōauau (flute). It has three irregularly spaced finger holes, two of which are detailed with pāua shell. The kōauau measures 12.5cm in length and its origins are no longer known.

    Educational value This asset is an example of one of the best known taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments) – a kōauau is an end-blown flute that usually had three irregularly spaced finger holes (though up to five are known); they ranged in length from 10.0 cm to 38.5 cm. It is an instrument that was traditionally made from albatross wing bone, moa bone or human bone, a variety of soft and hard woods, and occasionally stone and the stems of kelp. It is an instrument for which at least nine, four-note scales are known to have been used throughout New Zealand - they were used to play waiata (song) melodies and to accompany unison singing of such melodies. It is an instrument whose haunting sound can evoke sorrow and grief - its different forms are noted for their variations on this basic sound. It is an example of an instrument about which much knowledge has been lost - according to the renowned Māori musician Dr Hirini Melbourne, 'Of all the threads that make up the warp and weft of the whāriki [woven mat] of traditional knowledge, one has been missing - that of the traditions and performance skills of the musical instruments'. It is an example of an instrument that was usually intricately carved and, when not in use, was commonly worn as a neck ornament. It is example of an instrument that, according to legend, the patupaiarehe (or fairies) were the experts at playing. It is example of an instrument that has recently undergone a revival in popularity – carving and playing kōauau are once again commonplace activities in Māori culture.

    Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Nguru

    Description This is an image of a nguru, a nose flute or whistle, made from whale ivory around 1800. This style of carving is typical of Nga Puhi iwi (tribe), indicating this nguru came from the north part of the North Island. The carving features elaborate tureke (sinuous body forms) and unaunahi (fish scale) patterns. This nguru has an opening for blowing into at one end and three holes on the stem.

    Educational value This asset shows an instrument often played by exhaling through one nostril into its upturned end – when played in this way, the instrument's status is raised as the breath of the nose is regarded as more sacred; alternatively it can be played through the mouth. It is an instrument carved from whale ivory – most nguru were made of wood or stone; it is believed that only tohunga (ritual experts) or rangatira (chiefs) ever possessed whale ivory nguru such as this. It shows a flute that, when played through the nose, produces melodious, low-sobbing notes - these notes can be perceived as the accompaniment of the spirit voices of the wind; they are said to invoke the voice of Hineraukatauri, the female ancestral spirit of Māori music. It is an example of an instrument that was often played at times of great sorrow, traditionally Māori tangihanga (funeral, wake) - it was also played to signify love and longing. It shows a nguru about whose origins very little is known - the dislocations in Māori traditional life caused by European arrival meant the stories and history of many artefacts such as this were lost. It is a taonga pūoro (Māori musical instrument) – a resurgence in the manufacture and performance of taonga pūoro in recent years is helping to ensure that this living art form survives into the future.

    Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Pūtōrino (flute)

    Description This is an image of a handcrafted pūtōrino (flute) made from a section of hardwood, which has been split, hollowed out and bound together with muka (flax fibre). It has been carved to taper towards each end from the centre – one end is thicker with a blunt mouth and a carved collar, while the other is narrower with a small hole. A face carved in the middle of the upper length has two eyeholes, while a tongue in the mouth makes a figure-of-eight sound hole. A pāua-shell inset adorns one ear (not visible in image), but is missing from the other ear. The pūtōrino measures 55.7 cm x 6.0 cm x 4.6 cm, and its origins are no longer known.

    Educational value This asset is an instrument that was unique to Māori and very highly esteemed –pūtōrino varied in length from about 22.5 cm to 65.0 cm, the smaller instruments having an inner shape that followed the exterior curve and produced very clear, crisp flute sounds. It has two distinct traditional voices - the male voice is a the trumpeting note used to sound a summons or to signal something happening; the female voice, produced when the instrument is played sideways like a flute or blown over the top, is a crying sound, and was used for this on appropriate occasions such as a Tangi (funeral); consequently, the instrument has also been called a bugle flute. It may have a third voice - according to Māori folklore, some pūtōrino have a third voice when played by blowing over the māngai (centre hole) and blocking the mouthpiece; this is the voice of the mysterious Wheke (daughter of Raukatauri, the goddess of music), who is sometimes heard but never seen. It is an instrument with a limited range of sounds that can be varied to create a wide range of natural effects used to convey the traditional voices of male and female. It is an instrument associated with Raukatauri - the shape of the instrument is taken from the case moth cocoon that is said to house Raukatauri, who loved her flute so much she went to live in it. It provides an example of the impact of European arrival on Māori cultural knowledge - the dislocation caused by European settlement meant that many of the traditions and performance skills associated with taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments) have been lost; in the case of the pūtōrino, each of its calls would have had a name and a meaning, and individual instruments such as this would also have been named. It provides an example of the impact of European arrival on taonga (Māori cultural treasures) - many of these treasures, whose stories were a key element in the transmission of cultural values between generations, were acquired by collectors, ethnographers and naturalists during the 19th and early 20th centuries and their names and stories were lost; for instance, this instrument is unprovenanced (its place of origin or proof of past ownership is unknown).

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Playing taonga pūoro, 1923

    Description This is a black and white photograph of a Māori man, Aporo, playing what is most likely a kōauau, or end-blown flute, although it is possible that it is another type of flute known as a nguru. Sitting alongside Aporo is the noted ethnographer, Elsdon Best, while another Māori man in a suit and tie sits behind them. The photograph was taken by James McDonald in 1923 during an expedition to the east coast of the North Island, New Zealand, to observe the cultural practices of the local Ngati Porou people.

    Educational value This asset depicts a musical instrument, or taonga pūoro, unique to Māori – the instrument's haunting sound evokes sorrow and grief and is extremely difficult to play, with skilled players being much admired, as were those responsible for making them. It portrays a type of flute - unique to Māori, the nguru is a semi-closed, cross-blown flute with an upturned tapered end that commonly has three finger holes, or wenewene, and is left open at both ends, producing a melodic range of four tones that corresponds to the melodic range of moteatea, or traditional song; the kōauau, on the other hand, has four finger holes; the nguru gives a rounder sound than the kōauau but the kōauau produces a slightly extended range. It may show an instrument that confused many early observers because of the literal translation of kōauau as 'nose flute' - although kōauau were occasionally played with the nose, this technique was extremely difficult and according to the leading Māori anthropologist Peter Buck, it was more usual to play it by blowing across the upper end. It reveals an instrument that when played with the nose produces sounds believed to give the listener a sense of being with their ancestors - to Māori, the breath of the nose is considered to be more sacred, thus playing with the nose raises the mana (status) of the instrument and its player. It shows an instrument that can be carved from wood, typically maire, matāi and tōtara, with decorative designs, but was also manufactured from bone - longer versions of kōauau were often made from the wing bone of the toroa (albatross) and shorter versions from kurī (dog) and, most sacred of all, from kōiwi tangata or human bone. It highlights the loss of a great wealth of traditional knowledge about the kōauau and taonga pūoro in general, which was part of the reason for McDonald's expedition - the making and playing of kōauau has had a resurgence in modern society and is now common once again. It features an instrument that according to legend was played by fairies, patupaiarehe, and is synonymous with the famous Māori story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai - when Hinemoa swam to her lover on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua, central North Island, she was guided through the darkness by a slender thread of sound from Tutanekai's flute. It provides an example of the work of James McDonald (1865-1935) - a photographer well known for his black-and-white images of Māori, McDonald toured New Zealand extensively on ethnographic expeditions from 1919 to 1923 while employed by the Dominion Museum (now the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa). It depicts Elsdon Best (1856-1931) - Best also toured New Zealand extensively on ethnographic expeditions between 1919 and 1923 while employed by the Dominion Museum; Best is recognised as making 'a valuable record of Māori tradition as recorded in the 19th and early 20th centuries' and his monographs are still in print today, although some of his theories and reconstructions are open to question.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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