‘Kei a te Po te timatanga o te waiatatanga mai a te Atua. Ko te Ao, ko te Ao-marama, ko te Ao-turoa.’
‘It was in the night that the gods sang the world into existance.’
Matiaha Tiramorehu 1849
One of the greatest passions of the last 20 years of James’ artistic career has been the making and playing of Taonga Puoro (Maori musical instruments). Taonga Puoro, like Te Reo Maori, reflects the natural sounds and rhythms of nature and the environment. The instruments have whakapapa (genealogies) and purakau (origin stories) pertaining to the many families of instruments and the individual varieties of instruments associated with Taonga Puoro.
Historically, and in varying degrees in modern times, Taonga Puoro was used in the arts of healing and cultural ceremony. Due to historical events there was a decline in the use and cultural practice of the instrumental traditions within Maori culture and with the knowledge base connected to it. There has been a revival of this craft over the last 30 years, led by the late Hirini Melbourne, Richard Nunns, Brian Flintoff and Ranginui Keefe to name a few. A group named Haumanu has grown from these initiatives. The group (of which James am a part) is dedicated to the revival, teaching, and sharing of these taonga (treasures).
This series examines the 7 whanau groupings that make up the sounds of Taonga Puoro. Told from the perspective of selected experts throughout the motu, we take the audience on a practical rhythmic journey with knowledgable people into the ancient sounds and instruments of Taonga Puoro. With this series we endeavor to take Taonga Puoro out of the glass museum cases and into the lives and homes of our audience. This series will enhance and support the revival through a beautifully shot, sound designed informative programme.
Can be viewed on MTV on demand etc
Pukaea - made from matai and natural fibre/rope
Putatara- Mangai (mouth piece) made from kauri, kiekie root binding
Putorino kakaurua- matai
Koauau- wood / sheep bone / toroa (albatross) bone
Karanga manu- soap stone
Hue- puruhau / puruwai
Pakura- toroa koiwi (albatross bone)
Tumutumu- kohatu (stone)
Puroto- matai and bone
Rehu- matai and bone
Packed in a robust water resistant stormcase, Efta foam and Tyvek clothe