New Music, New Zealand
Exploring electronic and experimental music in New Zealand

New Zealand as seen from the International Space Station in 2014 © NASA

Aotearoa-New Zealand. Diverse in culture, landscape and climate. Isolated in the South Pacific Ocean but dialled into the rest of the world in the digital age. Such are the conditions for “Kiwis” making music in and beyond this island nation in the 21st century. This thematic dossier explores the newest electronic and experimental music of Aotearoa-New Zealand, and the history and traditions that underpin it.

more about the project

Sound Travels

Audible Experiments

Podcasts: Past and Future Music

Podcast: Taonga Pūoru

Tradition and Experimentalism in Aotearoa-New Zealand

Rob Thorne, composer-performer and scholar, introduces the many voices of Taonga Pūoro – traditional Māori instruments.

Composer-performer Rob Thorne is a diverse explorer in the newly revived evolution of Taonga Pūoro (traditional Māori instruments), fusing these ancient voices with modern sounds and technology. He creates ethereal immersive and powerful site-specific works through to contemporary chamber music and ground-breaking electronica - with expert knowledge and a deep respect of tradition. "Thorne has successfully re-imagined and reconstructed traditional Maori instrumental music for the 21st century." (NZ Musician)
Rob Thorne – Composer-performer and Taonga Pūoro expert
Website Rob Thorne

Jumping The Gap: The Distance Between Taonga Puoro and Experimental Music – Rob Thorne
Jumping The Gap - Article Soundbleedjournal

(Re)constructing the kōauau: traditional and modern methods in the making of kōauau rākau
(Re)constructing the kōauau

Richard Nunns, a key figure in the renaissance of taonga pūoro, alongside Hirini Melbourne
Website Richard Nunns

Hirini Melbourne, a key figure in the renaissance of taonga pūoro, alongside Richard Nunns
Hirini Melbourne - Wikipedia

Brian Flintoff’s book Taonga Pūoro, Singing Treasures provides a detailed introduction to traditional Māori instruments, including extensive photos and audio examples
Brian Flintoff on Jade and Bone Website

Composer Gillian Whitehead has composed numerous works that integrate taonga pūoro with the materials and techniques of western art music.
Website Gillian Whitehead

The music of Moana Maniapoto, the internationally celebrated singer/songwriter, is rooted in the landscape, culture and experience of Aoteroa.
Website Moana Maniapoto

Horomona Horo is a composer, performaner and cross-genre collaborator, fusing the traditional instruments of the Maori, taonga pūoro with a diverse range of cultural and musical forms.  

One of James Webster’s passions is the making and playing of taonga pūoro. He is also a member of the group Haumanu, which is dedicated to the revival, teaching and sharing of these taonga (treasures).
James Webster

Jerome Kavanagh is a renowned figure in the performance and ongoing renaissance of taonga pūoro.

Podcast: Tāhiko Pūoru

Electronic music in Aotearoa-New Zealand

An exploration of tāhiko pūoru, or electronic music, in Aotearoa-New Zealand. The podcast begins with the origins of the genre in New Zealand, moving through to the most contemporary approaches to tāhiko pūoru in Aotearoa.

Dugal McKinnon is a composer and sound artist, and director of the Lilburn Studios for Electronic Music at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington.
Find out more about New Zealand’s composers of electronic music via SOUNZ – the Centre for New Zealand Music.
SOUNZ Website

Audio Culture – the noisy library of New Zealand music
Audio Culture Website

A 10-part radio series reflecting on the life and work of composer Douglas Lilburn.
Douglas: The Landscape of a New Zealand Composer on RadioNZ

John Cousins on Studio 174 and single point listening
John Cousins on Vimeo

Bridget Johnson’s TedX talk on the relationship between art and technology
Bridget Johnson – TedX Te Aro on YouTube