Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns
Hirini Melbourne 


Rattle's 1994 release, Te Ku Te Whe 
, is widely regarded as the definitive album of taonga puoro. It was awarded a Gold Disc in 2002, but Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns weren't to record again together until they were joined by Aroha Yates-Smith for the critically acclaimed double CD/DVD, Te Hekenga-ä-rangi (2003).

Hirini died early in 2003 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was from Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu. A writer of stories, a composer, singer and respected academic, Hirini was a significant figure in the revival of the Maori language, with dozens of his now classic folk songs sung in classrooms throughout Aotearoa.

As Associate Professor Te Tari Maori at the University of Waikato, he was a respected scholar and his prolific writings form the core of Maori language sections in libraries throughout the country. A member of the NZ Film Commission and of the NZ Music Commission, Hirini also composed music for various festivals, productions and orchestras. He served with Te Waka Toi and on the Arts Board of Creative NZ. His extensive knowledge of te reo, the history of Tuhoe, and of music has enhanced the profile of Maori arts.

Hirini’s early musical experimentation soon extended to a fascination with the traditional Maori instruments, which he had initially seen only in museums. In 1989, he and Richard began performing regularly on marae, in galleries, in concerts and in festivals such as WOMAD and the NZ International Festival of The Arts.

Te Ku Te Whe, the woven mat of sound, was unrolled again in the 2006 release Te Whaiao: Te Ku Te Whe Remixed. Through its layering of digital textures and live performances, via a dream team of remixers, Te Whaiao (which means 'daylight'), opens a new window into a space in our shared musical consciousness.