Richard Nunns is the leading player of Taonga Puora (traditional Maori instruments) and is sought after around the world for concerts and lectures. I have been honored to have worked with him on several recording and performance projects. There are no books written on how to record Taonga Puoro and the process is one of sonic exploration, reflecting Richard’s own approach to the instruments. From subtle edge tones to powerful horn calls the dynamic range and diversity of sound is huge. Working with such unique and expressive instruments at the hands of a master has been a highlight of my technical career.
During the last few years we have produced music sound tracks for four documentaries by Christchurch based Director Kathleen Gallagher, with Aroha Yates-Smith on vocals, Richard on Taonga Puoro and myself on traditional Celtic instruments. This journey has been powerful and humbling and the outcomes have been very positive with the music being an integral part of the films’ message. In recent years we have developed an Arts Festival piece featuring a suite of poems by Glen Colquhoun called North South. The poems weave together Maori and Celtic mythologies and Richard and I support Glen’s energetic delivery with taonga puoro and Irish instruments. You’d think Glen’s radio mic would be the least of our technical worries except that he starts the show with his head in a bucket of water – not something radio mics particularly warm to!