20 May 2012

Taonga pūoro - Traditional Māori Instuments

From Composer of the Week, 9:15 am on 20 May 2012
030214. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Taonga Puoro

Taonga Puoro Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

taonga puoro Here we’re featuring compositions using taonga pūoro. Amelia Nurse spoke to composers and performers about the issues of combining Māori and Western music. Richard Nunns, Horomona Horo, Martin Lodge and Gillian Whitehead share their views with her.

There are some interesting issues:

Māori instruments were traditionally associated with particular occasions. Concerts for entertainment didn’t exist. Is it possible to preserve the integrity of the instruments in a Western context?

There is no notation associated with taonga puoro and each performer gets different sounds from the instruments, so how do composers describe what they want to be played? If the performer is improvising, who owns the composition?

All of these issues are discussed in the programme but because not all the material made it into the programme, Amelia’s full interviews are available to listen to on this page.

An Introduction to Taonga Puoro

Shane James demonstrates some Taonga Puoro

  • For more in-depth introductions to the instruments, listen to Richard Nunns introducing and playing them in He Ara Pūoro.