George FM Kōrerorero
Te Ao Maori
Te Ao Maori

George FM Kōrerorero

'I love the music, it’s big, it’s a big sound, and I’m so happy that you guys are playing it at George'

Here at George we’ve noticed artists like Mokotron incorporating taonga pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments) into their electronic music. And tunes like Lady Shaka’s ‘E T’u bring reo Māori to the forefront of cutting edge electronic music.

Puoro Jerome

To launch our new series George FM Kōrerorero, our George Te Ao Māori Kaitūhono Tīpare Ngā spoke to Grammy Award winning Taonga Pūoro practitioner/composer Puoro Jerome, to get his perspective as an expert in this field. We also caught up with him about his own recent musical releases.

What is taonga pūoro?

Says Jerome: “Taonga pūoro are our first musical instruments of our country here in Aotearoa. In its essence, they are the voice of the environment, so they’re all made from different parts of the environment, different native trees, shells from the moana - the ocean…really the essence of them is: taonga is a gift or a treasure, and then pūoro is the sound of resonance of our natural world, the nature."

"As I mentioned, they’re our first music instruments…In the time of our tupuna, our ancestors, they were used in all parts of life. Ceremony, for healing, in playing games and stuff as well. And then also in entertainment. So with storytelling. So our original music was using the voice, then playing these different taonga, taonga pūoro.”

His reaction to the music of Mokotron, which blends taonga pūoro in with more electronic sounds:

“Even just the name Mokotron when I first heard it…I was like ‘Wow!’ Cause, probably showing my age, but I grew up in a time of Transformers and that was pretty cool. So Mokotron I was sort of imagining a Māori cartoon of a Transformer! So love the name firstly. "

"I love the music, it’s big, it’s a big sound. And I’m so happy that you guys are playing it at George, it makes sense, you know. It’s such a cool big sound. And I love what they’re doing with the pūoro as well…it’s just anything that enhances the artform, it’s good, you know, it’s cool. I listen to that music at times when I need to pump myself up *laughs*."

On Lady Shaka:

“I love Lady Shaka…To see her absolutely smashing it around the world is like so cool…Just really happy she’s followed her passion and skill. When I actually first saw her was at Notting Hill Carnival in London, like years ago when I happened to be over there. Obviously she’s an amazing dancer as well.She’s got so many sides to her, and so you can see and hear how she’s done so well."

On Lady Shaka ‘E Tu’ and its use of the sample of Aaria’s 2001 track ‘Kei A Wai Rā Te Kupu:

“We see a lot of awesome Māori music coming out now but I think what’s cool about that is that she’s recognising those that have been gone before. Standing on the shoulders of giants, which I feel like is such a powerful way to do things. ‘Cause sometimes our next wave of artists can forget about those ones before. Sort of saw that as an ode to Aaria, at that time, they were like a massive pop band, came out signing in reo Māori, and did really well...I love Lady Shaka, I’m a big fan of hers.”

More on Jerome’s latest release: 

He has recently released “Raukatauri” honouring the Atua (goddess) of Taonga Pūoro (our original music of Aotearoa). His latest single was inspired by the birth of his youngest son Tāwhirirangi who has just turned one.

During the time of hapūtanga (pregnancy) Jerome and his partner Ruiha Turner revived the Tūpuna practice of utilizing specific Taonga Pūoro to play to pēpi whilst in the womb, during labour and to pēpi after the birth. Part of this revival was to create Oriori (ancestral lullaby) that inform Tāwhirirangi about the Atua - Raukatauri.


Puoro Jerome
Podcast video
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Listen to the full uncut chat below

Listen to The United Tribes of Bass - Mokotron remix album here