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Te Pahū

Television (Full Length) – 1996

With the resurgence of taonga pūoro, one musical instrument remains conspicuously absent from Māori music —pahū (drum). In this documentary Te Pahū, composer Hirini Melbourne (ONZM) and ethnologist Te Warena Taua trace the history of pahū, from musical accompaniment to being the manawa (heart) of communication and communities. Musicians and carvers bring to life the lost beat of pahū by creating a version using modern techniques. Pioneering Māori filmmaker Merata Mita (Patu!) directed Te Pahū, while Rawiri Paratene (Whale Rider) co-wrote and produced it.

There's a lot of people I talk with who say 'Well, we don't have a drum, and that's all there is to it'. And I kind of think, well how can it be, when all of the islands, our homelands, have such a strong element of percussion and drums? Percussion's there in our lives, it's there in our heartbeat. You know it's such an elemental sort of thing.
– Carver Rangi Skipper on pahū, early in this documentary

Produced by

Ora Digital