Taonga Puoro - Traditional Maori Musical Instruments
When Richard Nunns, musician, adventurer and expert in 'taonga puoro' first became aware of the 'taonga puoro' or traditional Maori musical instruments, back in the late 1950s, it was as artefacts in museums. Curators believed the objects were musical, but the knowledge of how to play them was thought to be lost. He discovered a deep affinity for playing them and a desire to bring them back from 100 years of silence.
Dr Richard Nunns together with his long-time musical collaborator Hirini Melbourne (who sadly passed away in 2003) and instrument-maker Brian Flintoff, has spent more than 30 years meticulously researching these unique indigenous instruments and bringing them back to life. The three of them have recreated and learnt to play pounamu (greenstone) flutes, shell trumpets and exquisitely carved percussive and wind instruments of bone, wood and stone that capture the sounds of pre-European Maori.
Over the last decade there has been a true revival of these 'musical treasures', these beautiful traditional Maori musical instruments, and nowadays we can often hear them being played at the background of the contemporary Maori-language music.