Ta Moko studio and Maori Arts Gallery

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Putatara, conch shell trumpet. In less recent time these instruments have had a variety of roles from signalling to ceremonial and ritual use.


Maori legend tells that when Tane descended from the heavens carrying Te Kete O Te Wananga (the three baskets of knowledge) gifted from his father Rangi, he left behind a putatara as a koha (gift).

This and other legends indicate why this instrument forms an important cornerstone of Maori practises and spiritual beliefs. The 'voice' of a putatara can be blown over many miles signaling an enemies advance. When played by a tohunga (priest) however the instrument can produce a remarkable range of sounds, easily described as out  of this world.

Once drilled and bound together the two main component parts represent koha from their respective Atua (gods): Tangaroa (god/guardian of the ocean) the shell and Tane Mahuta (god/guardian of the forest) the wood.


This is also available as part of Collection Case along with a number of other Taonga Puoro.