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Early Moriori and Māori Musical Instruments

Dr Jennifer Cattermole, University of Otago

Posted: Thu, 3 Nov 2016

What does the development of musical instruments of the Moriori and Māori tell us about the cultural changes that occurred amongst the earliest ancestral settlers of Aotearoa and the Chatham Islands? What musical instruments did they bring with them from the tropical Pacific and what instruments did they invent or adapt themselves?

Dr Jennifer Cattermole from the Music Department of Otago University and Maui Solomon from the Hokotehi Moriori Trust, and their research team, will work with musicians of traditional instruments, and with contemporary makers of musical instruments, to undertake an in-depth anaylsis of Moriori musicial instruments. The team will use a range of innovative and multidisciplinary methods to study the origins and development of the taonga pūoro as an iconic Māori and Morori instrument.

This impressively interdisciplinary project and its multi-talented team will collect oral histories, use CT scans, and make digital 3D models that they will archive in a online repository, all funded by a Marsden Fund grant. The research will produce mātauranga and new knowledge of the Moriori musical instruments and will help reveal greater understanding of the patterns of Polynesian migration, their innovations in new environments, and their music. 


Total Funding: $530,000 (excl. GST) over 3 years

Researchers: Dr Jennifer Cattermole, Department of Music, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054