Story: Māori musical instruments – taonga puoro

Playing the pūmotomoto, 2000

The pūmotomoto is a rare type of traditional flute, played specifically to unborn and newly born children to implant musical and other tribal traditions into their subconscious. Until recent times the instrument only survived in the form of oral traditions. Richard Nunns and other taonga puoro experts made and learned to play pūmotomoto based on those traditions. In this photo, Nunns plays a pūmotomoto made by Brian Flintoff to the unborn child of opera singer Deborah Wai Kapohe in 2000. The baby, a girl, was named Alyssa Beazley.

Listen to the pūmotomoto being played.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Richard Nunns Collection
Reference: PAColl-9112-1-103
Photograph by Jamie Bull

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Courtesy of Richard Nunns and Bob Bickerton

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Brian Flintoff, 'Māori musical instruments – taonga puoro - Melodic instruments – the family of Rangi', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 June 2024)

Story by Brian Flintoff, published 22 Oct 2014