Taonga pūoro used to promote, preserve ahurea Māori

By Bronson Perich

Travelling around Asia for year helped Reti Hedley (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) to create new music. Seeing the taonga pūoro of the indigenous peoples he encountered, he could not help but begin a musical experiment. Teaming up with Moetū Smith they are continuing their experiments, and the results are eclectic to say the least.

“Extracting the audio of any instrument I could find … it didn’t matter to me,” he says.

“There were no rules when it comes to the sounds of native instruments. No laws, no scales, no rhythms that really have influenced me here in Aotearoa.

These, he says, formed the foundation of the music that featured on their YouTube Channel. Named Native Travellers the channel showcases Hedley’s travels with his partner, Bianca Angel (Te Aitanga o Te Atihaunui, Ngāi Tahu). 

Hedley teamed up with bass guitarist Moetū Smith to bring the vision to life. Smith says that using taonga pūoro and teaching their use helps to preserve our ahurea.