syd playing koauau Waikato


Dr Hirini (Sydney) Melbourne

Along with his deep engagement with the worlds of education and the arts, Sydney Hirini Melbourne (1949–2003) immersed himself in the creative expression of Māori language and culture and its musical forms. ‘Whose living breath will give you voice again?’ he asks in the waiata ‘Taku Pūtōrino’, as he recalls his first encounter with an encased pūtōrino in a museum.

Toiapiapi offered the first fruits of a journey of musical discovery, as well as an extension of Hirini’s exceptional writing and composing talents.

Today, his waiata are embedded in the repertoire of musical performance in schools and cultural groups in Aotearoa, and in the hearts of his whānau, his people and the many other lovers and admirers of his work throughout the land.

Hirini & Richard


Richard Nunns

Richard Nunns is a highly-respected researcher and performer of Maori music and instrumentation, known also for a collaboration with Hirini Melbourne that spanned many years. Richard has performed with taonga puoro both locally and internationally, as well as supporting acts from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to Salmonella Dub.

He and Hirini Melbourne were jointly inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

In 2016, Richard received an Ockham Book Award for his book, Te Ara Puoro.


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