15 Nov 2011

Taonga puoro play themselves - Ariana Tikao

7:08 am on 15 November 2011

A Ngai Tahu singer-songwriter says reviving the art of playing taonga puoro, or traditional Maori instruments, is helping her to reconnect with her tipuna (ancestors).

Ariana Tikao, with the support of Creative New Zealand, is being mentored by one of New Zealand's most revered taonga puoro musicians, Richard Nunns.

She says she feels a connection with her Ngai Tahu ancestors every time she plays the koauau, or flute, and it's not uncommon to build a personal relationship with taonga puoro.

Ms Tikao says it can be quite uncanny sometimes in that the instruments feel like they're playing by themselves.

She says the collaboration and tutelage of Mr Nunns also helped her prepare for her current national tour, Voices of Our Ancestors, which this week plays to audiences in Takaka and Nelson.