4. Taonga Puoro - Musical Instruments

View Map map

You’re looking at some of the instruments Māori use to make music – these are called taonga puoro, and are still in use today. Taonga puoro all have individual voices. Most of the instruments you can see here are played like flutes or trumpets.

The short instruments on the top and middle rows are flutes. The ones with the slightly curved ends are called nguru. The straight ones are called kōauau.

Nguru are played with the nose. They are made from stone, wood, or bone, and you can see some are carved all over and others are very plain. The haunting melodic voice of the kōauau is brought to life by blowing across the open upper end. If you look closely you can see finger holes. Each instrument is specially made for an individual musician and the holes would have matched their finger spacing.

The long wooden flutes on the bottom shelf are pūtōrino. They have a softer female voice when played like a flute and a louder male voice when blown like a trumpet. The two halves of a pūtōrino are bound together with roots from the kiekie plant.

The instrument on the right of the bottom shelf is a putātara. Putātara are used to welcome guests to a powhiri or ceremony and at the beginning of meetings. They were also used as a call to war. These instruments are made from a conch shell and a carved wooden mouthpiece. Putātara can also be blown like a trumpet or played like a flute.

Now, turn around and walk past the map towards stop 7, the low case in the middle of the gallery with a model of a settlement.

arrow_back Previous arrow_forward Next