Wind Instruments

Artist: Te Rangi Kaihoro
Materials: Parāoa (whalebone), taura muka, huruhuru manu (kereru feathers)

“Ūira” – Pūrerehua roa – (whalebone) wind instrument
Parāoa (whalebone), taura muka, huruhuru manu (kereru feathers)                  


Pūrerehua were swung around the body to create a low booming noise. This one is called Ūira – lightening. The lightening flash is a talisman of the thunder boom, and can be counted between the interval of seeing the flash to hearing the boom. Each second adds a thousand feet, so 5 seconds equals five thousand feet above sea level, is where the height of the storm is. This early warning system is well known to our ancestors who were experts in celestial navigation, climatic conditions, the sea ferrying methodologies and much more. This expertise is imbued in the use of the pūrerehua also used to welcome visitors, lead a war party and send long distance communication to other iwi. This is a multi-facetted pūoro Māori.

Whatitiri – Pūrerehua nunui – (whalebone) wind instrument
Parāoa (whalebone), taura muka, huruhuru manu (kereru feathers)                


This one represents forked lightening. It spins into the wind as it is spun around the body of the operator, creating a wheeering sound. This sound alters between two octaves, high and low. As it is swung clockwise the taura muka is twisted by the centrifugal forces, so that when the maximum tension is reached, then the pūrerehua changes direction and travels against the wind causing this unique sound. Communication is made by slow or fast swinging. Lengthening or shortening the swing time changes the tonal reverberance to achieve notable sound anomalies. With a strong wind, sounds are carried many miles down wind informing people of events at the source. Mātauranga encompasses many art forms and pūoro is no exception. Music has a calming effect on the temporal lobe and makes us more relaxed and accepting. This activity is somewhat reminiscent of the synapse’s function when Neurons in the brain flash like forked lightening, to inform the brain everything is as it should be, so relax!

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