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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.


Tohu is a New Zealand music group lead by Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal.

'Our aspiration is to compose and perform music which expresses, responds to and ‘breathes' life and our experiences. Of particular interest, is to express through music experiences of living in this land, Aotearoa, the environment and its people. Aotearoa is a physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional place which comes to be through us. The key idea of the group is found in the word ‘tohu', a verb used to describe the arrival of mana in a vessel such as a person. We seek to be 'marked' by life, by the world around us. Life is expressed through creativity. Music is life itself.

Tohu makes use of both English and Maori language, taonga puoro, drums, guitars and keyboards (and other instruments too). If there is a word to describe our music it is ‘Aotearoa music', where Aotearoa refers to the beating heart of the land, the water, the sky and how it makes its way into human experience'.

Matariki gallery is honored to promote this beautiful traditional Maori music and underneath you will find 2 CD's by the music group Tohu.

If you want to order one of  these CD's please send an email to 

and we can send you the payment- and delivery details.

Tohu: MaurioraTohu: Mauriora            EUR. 20,00

This CD contains 11 popular songs composed in the Maori language. It was recorded in 1997 and 1998 and performers include Toni Huata, Tiekiwhare Hemmingsen, Daniel Waho, Keelan Ransfield, Aaron Tokona, Atawhai Tibble, Brannigan Kaa and George Nepia.

Tohu: Mauriora was one of the first CD's funded by Te Mangai Paho when it turned to support the composition and recording of new Maori language music for use on Maori radio stations.

  • Tohu
  • Reo-ora (composed for the 1995 Year of the Maori Language)
  • Kotuku-rerenga-tahi (composed to commemorate the visit to New Zealand in 1995 of President Nelson Mandela of South Africa)
  • Rangiatea (composed following the burning of Rangiatea Church in 1995 in Otaki)
  • Moe Hurihuri
  • Nga Mate o te tau (composed to mourn the passing of Sir Hepi Te Heuheu of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Matiu Rata of Muriwhenua and Eva Tuaiwa Rickard of Tainui Awhiro)
  • Papatuanuku
  • Ruru
  • Matawai ana (a love song)
  • Mauriora
  • Nga Mate o te tau (a second version)

All music was recorded in Flax Studios in Wellington, New Zealand and songs have received continual airplay on Maori Radio Stations. From time to time, extracts have also been broadcast on Television New Zealand.

Produced by Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal and George Nepia
Mauriora-ki-te-Ao /Living Universe Ltd. 1998
Published with the assistance of Te Mangai Paho and Flax Records

If you want to order this CD please send an email to 

and we can send you the payment- and delivery details.


Tohu: WhakawhitiTohu: Whakawhiti                              EUR. 20,00

Music CD of 11 songs witten in the Maori language - Te Reo.

Released in August 2010.

Tohu: Whakawhiti features the musicians Toni Huata, Conrad Noema, Maaka McGregor, Alistair Fraser, Trinity Rangihuna and Charles Royal.

All songs were written and composed by Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal and include:

  • Taranga
  • Kokihi
  • Tauranga Ika
  • Te Korokoro-o-te-parata
  • Te Au-o-te-moana
  • U e u
  • Whakataki
  • Taunaha
  • Tupu
  • Nou te ao
  • Taranga II

This CD was funded by a grant from Te Mangai Paho.  Na Te Mangai Paho te putea tautoko!

If you want to order this CD please send an email to 

and we can send you the payment- and delivery details.

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