Te Ao o Taonga Puoro

Te Ao o Taonga Puoro (The World of Singing Treasures) is an education programme developed by Bob Bickerton which is available to be performed in Primary, Intermediate and Secondary Schools around Te Wai Pounamu (The South Island).

The performance features 20 different traditional Māori instruments including pākuru, kōhatu, tumutumu, pūrerehua, porotiti, hue puruhau, poi awhiowhio, kōauau ponga ihu, pūtōrino, kōauau, pōrutu, ororuarangi, nguru, pūtatara, pūpū harakeke, karanga ruru, karanga weka, karanga manu and pūkāea.

As well as demonstrating the instruments, discussing how to play them and inspiring students to make their own, the programme features a number of pūrākau (old stories) that give background stories to the taonga.

These stories include a creation story, the separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, the anger of Tāwhirimātea after the separation, Hine Pū Te Hue's role in bringing peace to her siblings, the story of Hine Raukatauri and how she went to live in her flute, where the Kōkako gets its song, the story of an albatross wing, the story of a whale stranding and a tooth from one of those whales, the story of the pūpū harakeke and its role in warning of approaching danger and Tāne's task of cloaking Papatūānuku in the ngahere (bush).

The programme also talks about how the sounds of the instruments were lost and then revived by the group Haumanu and finishes with a waiata and question time.

About Bob Bickerton

Bob toured extensively for 25 years presenting music programmes to schools all around Aotearoa during which time it's estimated he presented to over 300,000 students. His performances were always well received and were almost exclusively assessed in the top 'excellent' category.

He has been greatly encouraged by Hirini Melbourne, Richard Nunns, Brian Flintoff and Aroha Yates-Smith, as well as Ariana Tikao, Solomon Rahui and Holly Tikao-Weir and indeed was challenged by Hirini to take the taonga to as many communities as possible. This programme is a response to that challenge.

He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for his work in schools.

About the Programme

Te Ao o Taonga Puoro is suitable for all students from primary to secondary level, and can even be presented to adults, as the content and language of the programme is adapted to suit those present.

Generally speaking the programme is around 40 minutes long including questions, but tends to be shorter for younger students and a little longer for senior students.

Because of the intimate nature of some of the instruments Bob restricts student numbers to around 120 in each performance, but is available to make multiple performances in larger schools. It is particularly useful if larger schools split groups into age-based syndicates as the presentation is then tailored to the age group present.

It should be noted that whilst Bob encourages Kura Kaupapa Māori schools to book the programme, he is unable to present the full programme in te reo Māori. However, as part of these performances he would include a mihi whakatau, karakia and waiata in te reo.

In terms of set-up, Bob just requires a table with a minimum size of 1200mm x 600mm and an adult-sized armless chair. Primary aged students are asked to sit on the floor. He travels with a small sound system (if needed) for difficult acoustics or large halls.

You are invited to explore the many online resources developed exclusively for this programme by clicking the link below. You will find detailed content of the programme, videos of the performance, teacher resources including worksheets and videos on how to make and play the instruments.


The cost of each performance is $150 (GST exclusive) which includes travel, accommodation and other costs.  Discounts for Kura Kaupapa Māori by negotiation. Schools will be invoiced on completion of the performance and payment is required within 7 days.

Booking Form

Bob will be touring Te Waipounamu in 2024 as follows:

Term 2 - 29th April to 10th May

Term 3 - 9th September to 20th September

Schools based in Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Mauī may book at anytime subject to negotiation.

Please note that tours will be scheduled so as to make geographic sense and accordingly it may take sometime to co-ordinate all schools.

To book the programme simply fill out this contact form and I'll come back to you by return: