Some precious museum artifacts give life to lost musical arts. In this mini-documentary from series Tales from Te Papa, the Māori wind instrument known as the pūtōrino is examined by presenter Riria Hōtere and Te Papa Collections Manager Shane James. The dimensions and design of these ancient taonga have been examined by carvers and musicians for clues as to their construction and use. The pūtōrino operates like a trumpet as well as a flute. Its form is inspired by the cocoon of a moth, and its function depends on the human breath.
It is unique in that it has attributes of both a trumpet and a flute. It is also unique in that it has a number of voices: ‘Te Kōkiri o Tāne’, a male voice, and ‘Te Wai o Te Hine’, a female voice.– Te Papa Kaitiaki Taonga/Collections Manager Shane James talks about the pūtōrino