Story: Telecommunications

Pūtātara (shell trumpet)

Pūtātara (shell trumpet)

Pūtātara were used to communicate over distances and were treasured as heirlooms by chiefly families. They were made from conch or triton shells, and made a loud sound which carried long distances when blown. The tip of the shell was cut off and replaced by a wooden, usually carved, mouthpiece.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: ME003937

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How to cite this page:

A. C. Wilson, 'Telecommunications - Early telegraphy and telegrams', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/21997/putatara-shell-trumpet (accessed 25 April 2019)

Story by A. C. Wilson, published 11 Mar 2010