Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Nō te uri ahau ā Rākaihautū, Whatu Māmoe, Tahupōtiki. Ko Waitaha rātau ko Kāti Māmoe, ko Kai Tahu kā iwi. Ko Te Wāhi Pounamu te whenua. Ko Aoraki rāua ko Hikaroroa kā mauka. Ko Te Tai o Araiteuru te moana. Ko Waikouaiti te awa. Kā Puna karikari a Rākaihautū wai Māori kā roto. Ko Puketeraki te papatipu marae. Ko kā waka e toru: ko Uruao, ko Araiteuru me Takitimu hoki. Ko kā hapū ko Kāti Huirapa, ko Kāti Hawea, a, ko Kāi Te Ruahikihiki hoki ka noho ai. Ko te rūnaka, ko Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki. Ko Heremi Harpur taku ikoa. Ko Harpur tōku tūpuna ikoa Airihi. Ko te tikaka o tāna ikoa ko te harp, he momo pūoro whakataki. Ko kaiwhakatakitaki rāua ko whakairo kā taoka pūoro āku mahi. Kai a te Rangatira, he kōrero. Tohu o te Rangatira, he manaaki. Mahi a te Rangatira, he whakatira i te iwi. Mō tātau, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei. Tihei mauriora!
Taonga pūoro are the musical instruments of the Māori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The name taonga pūoro means singing treasures. This name gives an insight into how highly the instruments are valued, both for the beauty of the sound, the instrument itself and the story of the taonga. There are many different types of taonga pūoro, from shell trumpets, to unique types of flutes, spun instruments and bird callers. All instruments are seen as individuals as they have their own unique voice and decoration. They are grouped into families according to how they were created in the ancestral past. These stories are shared through the sounds of the taonga and the carvings on them. There are many different uses for taonga pūoro, from open entertainment to sacred ritual use. In either context, when played, they somehow transmit an appreciation for the spiritual dimensions from which they come.
Jeremy Cloake was born in Whanganui ā Tara (Wellington), Aotearoa and is now based at Piha beach in Tāmaki Makau-rau (Auckland). His Māori tūpuna (ancestors) are Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe and Kai Tahu (tribal groups) from Te Waka o Aoraki (the South Island). He is sometimes referred to as Heremi, the Te Reo (Māori language) transliteration for Jeremy. Harpur is his Irish ancestral name. Harpur is a musicians name taken from harp that literally means harp and pipe player. He shares ancestry with "Australia’s most recognised colonial poet” Charles Harpur. Jeremy values and acknowledges all aspects of his ancestry and the important role his ancestors have in shaping his future.
Jeremy values the fact that each taonga he makes will continue to represent him long after he is gone. For this reason, he is a meticulous carver who makes all of his instruments with the utmost care and respect for the whakapapa of the taonga. His skills as a carver and as a musician means that he is able to refine his instruments from both perspectives, resulting in excellent musical instruments that are beautufully decorated. He works with pounamu (NZ greenstone), niho parāoa (sperm whale teeth) kauae parāoa (sperm whale jawbone) and rākau o Aotearoa (NZ native timbers). In most cases, Jeremy makes each taonga to individual request as it is important for him to carve the taonga with suitable intention and design relevant to the individual or family he is making it for. Occasionally taonga will be listed for sale on this website. Jeremy's work is in private collections within Aotearoa and in Japan, Europe and the UK. Documentation and Toi Iho certification is supplied with all instruments.
Jeremy Cloake is currently working on a scholarship awarded to him by AMP. This scholarship supports him to carve instruments for marae and other institutions around Aotearoa. As part of this scholarship, he has worked with the British museum and museums in Aotearoa. He sometimes hosts educational taonga pūoro workshops where people can learn about these instruments. Most often this is in a seminar type situation, where Jeremy shows his work and talks about the different types of taonga pūoro and demonstrates how some of them are made and played.
The MP3 file above is titled Ata Hapara, meaning dawn. This track starts with the sound of kōauau koiwi being gently rubbed together, then the whisper of a pūtatara being cross blown as a karanga weka calls and a porotiti starts spinning. The wail of the pūtorino begins as the porotiti and karanga weka sing, finishing with three trumpet calls from the pūtatara.
In the Māori language karanga can be translated as to call or summon and manu means bird or winged creature. Therefore karanga manu are bird calling instruments. They are deliberately made to mimic bird calls. They are small cross blown flutes made from pounamu (NZ greenstone) or bone that are played with pursed lips. They can produce a surprising variety of sounds when played well.
Karanga manu are most often used to mimic bird calls for the purpose of attracting and interacting with them. This can be for the simple pleasure of enjoying the interaction with the birds and their song, or as part of Māori spiritual practices. In Māori tradition, birds are respected and valued animals. They are sometimes seen as important messengers from the spirit world. Although karanga manu are a small and seemingly insignificant instrument, when employed in this way, they can serve a very important spiritual function. They are also used in contemporary Māori music and performance as an instrument to create a forest like atmosphere.
Karanga manu are also known by the less common term kōauau pūtangitangi. This term reveals a more practical use for the instrument, employed by ancestral Māori. Kōauau is the common cross blown Māori flute, that can also be used to attract birds. Pūtangitangi are large goose-like ducks endemic to Aotearoa. They are commonly known as paradise ducks. Early Māori hunted pūtangitangi in favoured regions and employed this instrument to lure the birds close enough to be captured. Hunting was done outside of the breeding season to ensure healthy populations remained. Today pūtangitangi can be seen on farm land and open grasslands throughout Aotearoa. Both the male and female have bold plumage, the male having a black head and barred black body, the female having a white head with a chestnut body. Karanga manu are often worn around the neck as beautiful and functional pendants, readily available for an opportunity to communicate with the birds.
Karanga weka are small bird callers made specifically to replicate the call of a weka, a flightless bird endemic to Aotearoa. Weka are known for having an inquisitive nature. In Aotearoa, there are two types of weka, the rare north island weka and the more common south island weka. The endemic and native birds of Aotearoa are a very important part of taonga pūoro in the creation of various instruments and the songs that they produce. Birds also served as an important food source for early Māori. A skilled player of karanga weka was able to replicate the weka's call and because of its curiosity, it could be lured close enough to be snared. Māori often stored weka and gave them to guests as part of welcoming them.
Karanga weka can also be played melodically and produce a high pitch sound that is often described as being pure and uplifting. They are also noted for having the ability to cut through other sounds. This cutting quality would seem useful as a communication tool that could be audible yet disguised within other sounds of the forest. It would seem likely that karanga weka were also used by hunting or travelling parties to communicate with each other, sending various messages with different types of calls, within a blanket of numerous other bird calls and forest sounds. Karanga weka can be made from pounamu (NZ greenstone) bone and wood. They are small instruments and can also be worn as beautiful pendants.
Pictured: Karanga weka made by Jeremy Cloake from a pounamu pebble collected close to Piopiotahi (Milford Sound). It has been adorned with a maire rau nui toggle holding weka feathers and is strung to be worn as a functional pendant.
Kōauau are the most common of all the Māori flutes. They are part of the flute family and come to us from the atua (spiritual entity) of flute music Hine Raukatauri. In the past, kōauau were most commonly made from wood, albatross wing bone, the stems of certain plants and sometimes human bone. Kōauau is also the name for a species of hollow kelp, which can also be used to make instruments from. Today kōauau are made from a variety of materials including wood, bone or sometimes stone. Ostrich and beef bone are commonly used today as well as mataī wood.
Most kōauau have 3 wenewene (finger holes) although there are several older examples that have 4 or more. The kaiwhakangāwari is the wenewene closest to the mouth, the kaiwhakahī is the middle wenewene and the kaiwhakakaha is the wenewene closest to the distal end.
The end opening of the kōauau is cross blown, which produces a rich and melodic sound. The sound is manipulated in micro tonal shifts rather than jumping from one note to the next. This subtle shift in sound requires a sensitivity that often takes years of practise to develop well. Most often there is just one end of the kōauau that is played, however there are some older kōauau that appear to have been made to be played from either end. These instruments produce a slightly different scale each way, giving the player more flexibility with the sound.
There are many uses for kōauau. In Māori tradition, birds are sometimes seen as important messengers from the spirit world. Kōauau have a reputation of attracting the native birds of Aotearoa. The birds will often interact with the beautiful melody from the kōauau, giving us a glimpse of the spiritual aspects of the kōauau song. Kōauau are also used to welcome new born children into life and also in to sing a supportive farewell to the spirit as it departs. In the ancestral past, the sound of the kōauau was used together with rongoā (traditional Māori medecine) to help with the healing of broken bones. The melody was also used to help memorise knowledge retained in oral tradition. In other stories, love songs were played on the kōauau that attracted people from far away.
According to some of the legends, the patupaiarehe (fairies) were the experts at playing kōauau. In southern Māori whakapapa, the maeroero people were said to have arrived in Te Waka o Aoraki (the South Island) in their canoe Te Waka Huruhuru Manu (the bird feather canoe). Maeroero are said to be small fairy type people who live in the mist surrounding Puketapu and other mauka (mountains) north of Ōtepoti (Dunedin). It is said that on some nights you can hear maeroero playing kōauau from within the thick blankets of mist. Pictured: kōauau toroa (kōauau made from albatross wing bone) made by Jeremy Cloake, finished without wenewene, length 97mm.
Nguru are unique flutes found only in the traditions of the Māori of Aotearoa. They have a curved shape that is derived from some of the materials they are made from, these being the end stem of a hue (gourd) and niho pāraoa (sperm whale tooth). They can also be made from various types of hard wood and today some people carve them out of stone.
Nguru are semi enclosed flutes that have four wenewene (finger holes), three on the top and one on the bottom. The end opening is cross blown, which produces a rich and melodic sound. The sound is manipulated in micro tonal shifts rather than jumping from one note to the next. This subtle shift in sound requires a sensitivity that often takes years of practise to develop well.
Although nguru are most often played with the mouth, they are sometimes called nose flutes as smaller instruments can also be played with the nose by blocking one nostril and blowing across the larger openings of the instrument. In Māori tradition and in many pacific cultures, the breath of the nose is sacred. When nguru are played with the nose, they can produce sounds that are perceived as spirit voices joining together with the sound and the song.
In the past, nguru were often played at times of great sorrow, such as tangihanga (funerary events). Subsequently, they are very important taonga. Nguru made from niho pāraoa are the most highly valued and were only owned by tohunga (priests) or rangatira (chiefs). Nguru are part of the flute family and come to us from the atua (spiritual entity) of flute music Hine Raukatauri.
Pictured: nguru made by Jeremy Cloake from recycled mataī wood with pāua shell inlay around the wenewene, length 113mm. The MP3 file is a short demonstration of a medium sized nguru made from mataī. This melody is inspired by the feeling of standing among the peaks of Tiritiri o Te Moana, the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Poi āwhiowhio can be translated to mean whistling gourd. They are made from a small or medium sized hue (gourd) and have one hole on the side. String is attached to the neck end of the hue and feather baffles at the other. Like other types of poi used by Māori, the poi āwhiowhio is a spun instrument.
Ancestral Māori used the hue for many different purposes. The hue were dried then hollowed out, the larger ones most often being fashioned into vessels for storing food or carrying water. Sometimes small hue were used to make musical instruments or to store perfume, whilst others served the important function of storing karakia (prayers) that could be released from the hue in times of need.
In Māori creation stories, there was fighting amongst the atua (spiritual entities) after the separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. Hine Pū te Hue intervened and brought peace and through this act became known as the atua of peace. She is often associated with the calming of storms and the settling of worries. Hine Pū te Hue is the kaitiaki (custodian) for the hue. Understanding this gives us an insight into the use of her instruments. All of the Māori musical instruments made from hue are like their kaitiaki and sing songs that are peaceful. The hue itself is often a symbol of peace. Poi āwhiowhio produce a soft whistling chatter when spun, a soothing voice of Hine Pū te Hue that creates a peaceful atmosphere, reminding us of a forest full of bird song.
In Māori tradition, birds are respected and valued animals as they can sometimes bring important messages from the spirit world. The poi āwhiowhio is similar to other Māori instruments as it can be used to attract birds for the purpose of interacting with them. This can be for the simple pleasure of enjoying the interaction with the birds and their song, or as part of Māori spiritual practices. As a noun, whio is the name for rare blue grey duck endemic to Aotearoa. The whio takes it's name from the call of the male bird and can sound similar to the poi āwhiowhio.
Today, poi āwhiowhio are sometimes used as an atmospheric sound for meditation practises and can be played as a soothing instrument to assist with transition into sleep. Sometimes they are used as accompaniment for karakia (prayers), in particular prayers for peace. The MP3 below is a short sample of a small poi āwhiowhio.
Porotiti are spinning discs that rotate around two parallel strings. The porotiti is wound around the strings, then the player gently pulls on each end of the strings and the instrument winds and unwinds, producing a whirring hum as it rotates. They can also be blown on as they rotate, which creates a slightly different sound. The sound varies depending on the size, shape and material of the instrument. Porotiti are made from a variety of materials including pounamu (NZ greenstone), bone and wood.
Porotiti are sometimes spoken of as children's toys however they also have sacred uses as accompaniments to karakia (prayers) and as song catchers. The voice of a spinning porotiti is calming and meditative. The sound vibration together with the player's finger movements assist with flexibility in finger joints and relief from arthritis pain. When played over the faces and chests of people, the vibration has balancing and cleansing effects. Today, many people choose to use porotiti as part of their meditation practice, synchronising their breath with the rotation of the porotiti. This is proven to be very relaxing and supports a deep meditative state.
Porotiti are wind voices and come from Tāwhirimātea, the atua (spiritual entity) of the winds. The howling and eerie sounds of the winds are often acknowledged as messages from the spirit world. Sometimes porotiti produce unexpected sounds which are considered special as they are perceived as spirit voices joining in with the song.
Pictured: Pounamu porotiti by Jeremy Cloake, length 92mm. This porotiti has been named Te Puna, in this case meaning a spring of water.
Pūkāea are wooden signalling trumpets made from two pieces of hardwood that have been bound together. There are several differing styles within the pūkāea genre that vary considerably, ranging from approximately half a metre to over two metres in length.
Pūkāea can be used in many contexts. In whatever context they are played, the primary function is to announce spiritual pathways. Ancestral Māori used pūkāea to sound alarms during times of conflict and to announce relay signals to warriors. In this context they were dedicated to Tūmatauenga, the atua (spiritual entity) of war. For this reason pūkāea are sometimes called war trumpets, although this is a limited perspective of the instrument and not entirely correct. Despite this association with conflict, pūkāea were also used during peaceful ceremony as signalling instruments for various occasions of importance. This included important cultural formalities and also agricultural rituals associated with the planting and harvesting of kūmara and other crops. When used in the agricultural context, pūkāea were dedicated to Rongo mā Tāne, the atua (spiritual entity) of the kūmara and cultivated food.
To make a pūkāea is very labour intensive. Firstly, suitable hardwood is selected and shaped into the appropriate form. This form is usually fairly long and slender, starting with a small mouthpiece at one end and slowly tapering out along the long stem of the instrument, then flaring out considerably at the distal end into a shape that resembles a gaping mouth. The wood is then carefully split or cut in half length ways and the internal sound chamber is hollowed out to match the exterior shape. The seams of each half are then glued and bound back together with vine or fibre. Sometimes a section of reed is inserted into the sound chamber several centimetres above the distal end. When the player blows into the pūkāea, this reed vibrates, perhaps to imitate the human throat as it seems conceptually similar to the palatine uvula, the piece of skin that hangs in the human throat that plays a role in the articulation of some sounds of the human voice. It is common for certain types of pūkāea to have teeth-like shapes carved into the distal end.
Typically, longer pūkāea produce a deep sound and shorter instruments produce a higher pitch sound, however skilled players can produce several notes from one instrument. They are played with an embouchure similar to that of a trumpet, producing a loud droning trumpet-like sound that can be heard over long distances. Similar to the pūtorino, passive voice techniques can also be used through the pūkāea, in this case producing a multi-harmonic and captivating trumpet tone.
Today pūkāea are sometimes used to announce the opening and closing stages of Māori ceremony or on other important occasions. In some cases, they are used during pōwhiri to signal the process of welcoming guests onto a marae. Spiritually, pūkāea are played to clear the path and to ensure the well-being of individuals, families and tribal groups. At Te Papa museum in Wellington, several pūkāea were played to welcome in the new millineum. Despite the context, whenever pūkāea are played they send a loud and strong sound that captures the attention of all listeners.
Pūrerehua are wind instruments that are spun in a circular motion, usually above the head. They produce a whirring sound that varies depending on the size, shape and materials of the instrument and the speed with which it is spun. Pūrerehua can be made from a variety of materials including pounamu (NZ greenstone), bone and wood.
The flight pattern of some pūrerehua resemble that of the pūrerehuhu moth, from where they take their name. Rangorango is another name for the pūrerehua, taken from a special type of blowfly with the same name. The song of the pūrerehua is likened to the whirring sound of rangorango's wings as it hovers and darts. In Te Waka o Aoraki (the South Island) they are named Hamumu Ira Kārara, which can be translated into English as 'the sounds that stir the lizards to life.' When played, the sound of pūrerehua can attract lizards, possibly because the vibrations are similar to a blowfly's flight, suggesting food for the lizard. Pūrerehua are said to have been used in times a scarcity to attract lizards as a source of food and they are also used by some to sing a farewell to the dead. They are well known as rain makers, causing tears of love to fall from the sky father Ranginui on his beloved Papatūānuku, the earth mother.
Pūrerehua are wind voices and come from Tāwhirimātea, the atua (spiritual entity) of the winds. The sometimes eerie sounds of the winds are acknowledged as messages from the spirit world. Sometimes pūrerehua produce unexpected sounds which are considered special as they are perceived as spirit voices joining in with the song. Māori tradition says that the spirit of the person playing the pūrerehua travels up the cord to create the sound, which then travels with the wind to take the words and dreams of the player to the listeners of the world. Therefore, pūrerehua are instruments for communicating to those within both the physical and spiritual realms.
Pūtātara is one of the common names used for Māori shell trumpets. As a prefix, pū can be translated as to blow and as pipe, tube or flute. The tātara is the rare New Zealand native shell that occasionally washes up on the beaches of Aotearoa. When they do wash up on the shore, they are seen as a special gift from Tangaroa and are highly valued. Because tātara are rare, the more common pacific trition shell is often used. In this case the taonga is more appropriately called a pūmoana.
Pūtātara are played with an embouchure similar to that of a trumpet, producing a trumpet-like sound that can be manipulated in pitch and volume by moving a hand over the opening of the shell as it is blown. They are most often used as signalling instruments, with different calls having different meanings. They can be used to announce arrivals to a marae or the birth of a child. They can also be used to summon people for formal learning. When played well, pūtātara can produce an unexpected range of sounds, often stirring the emotions of the listeners. Pūtātara can also be played cross blown in a melodic way, producing a soft flute like voice, sometimes referred to as the female voice, the louder trumpet voice being the male.
Māori legend says that when Tāne descended from the heavens carrying Te Kete ō Te Wānanga (the three baskets of knowledge) gifted from his father Ranginui, he left a pūtātara as a koha (gift). This story and several others show how this instrument has become an important foundation of Māori spiritual beliefs and practises. In Māori whakapapa, Tangaroa is the atua (spiritual entity) of the oceans and the fish are his children through his union with Hine Moana. Whakairo translates as carving or the work of Iro. Iro is a sea worm, or a child of Tangaroa that leaves carved patterns in pieces of driftwood. Therefore carving can be seen as a gift from Tangaroa.
The conch trumpet is a common instrument throughout the pacific, but there are few places other than Aotearoa where a wooden mouthpiece is attached to the shell. In the making of a pūtātara, the union of the shell and wood brings together the respective koha (gifts) from Tangaroa and Tānemahuta, the atua of the forest and birds.
Pictured: Pūtātara made by Jeremy Cloake, maire mouthpiece attached to tātara shell with whaletooth pegs, bound with native bird feathers of Aotearoa, length 251mm. Tātara shell courtesy of Dr. Hirini Melbourne and Brian Flintoff.
Pūtōrino are unique to Māori, they occur nowhere else in the world. In Māori whakapapa, all of the Māori flutes come to us from Hine Raukatauri, the daughter of Tānemahuta, the atua (spiritual entity) of the forest and birds. Hine Raukatauri is best known as the atua of flute music. She loved her flute so much that she chose to live inside it. She is now personified as the casemoth that hangs from branches of trees in a long slender cocoon. This case-moth cocoon is where the pūtōrino gets it's shape from.
Pūtōrino can vary dramatically in length, the shortest museum examples are around 220mm and the longest just over 650mm. To make a pūtōrino is very labour intensive. The outer cocoon shape is carved from a solid piece of wood then carefully split or cut in half lengthways. The internal sound chamber is then hollowed out, usually to match the external cocoon shape. This internal chamber usually finishes with a small hole at the distal end. The seams of each half are then glued and bound back together with fibre. At the widest part of the instrument is the māngai, or central opening. In te reo Māori, māngai can mean mouth or speaker therefore this opening often becomes the mouth for a carved face and is seen as the speaking part of the instrument.
Pūtōrino are unique musical instruments as they can produce several voices. The main two voices are seen as male and female. The kōkiri o te tāne (male voice) is played with an embouchure similar to that of a trumpet, producing a unique wailing sound that is varied in both volume and pitch by the playing pressure and hand movement over the māngai. The waiata o te hine (female voice) is played with a cross blown technique to produce a flute like tone that varies in pitch and volume according to the players embouchure and the volume of air being blown. The pūtōrino is also played as a conduit for the voice. This technique involves passive voice usage whilst playing the kōkiri o te tāne. Some pūtorino can also be played by blowing over the māngai. Because of the variety of sizes pūtōrino come in and the variety of their voices, they are a highly valued and unique taonga to Māori.