Richard Nunns

Richard Nunns
Richard Nunns, 2011.jpg
Nunns in 2011
Background information
OriginNew Zealand
Associated actsHirini Melbourne
WebsiteOfficial website

Richard Nunns QSM (born 1945) is a Māori traditional instrumentalist of Pākehā heritage. He is particularly known for playing taonga pūoro and his collaboration with fellow Māori instrumentalist Hirini Melbourne. Since Melbourne's death, he is regarded as the world's foremost authority on Māori instruments.

Early life

Nunns was born in 1945 in Napier.[1] He is a Pākehā of Scandinavian descent[2][3] and was born into a musical family. After studying at Matamata College, he did teacher training at Canterbury University.[4] As a teacher in his late 20s living in the Waikato, he helped build a marae, which fuelled his interest in Māori culture. At the time, he was a jazz musician.[3][5]

Professional life

Richard Nunns playing a flute

For many years, he performed with Hirini Melbourne (1949–2003), playing traditional Māori instruments. Together, they researched these instruments, which had not been played for over a century, as their use went out of tradition in the 1900s. For many of the instruments, which were still on display in museums, it wasn't even known what technique was used to play them. They are credited with reviving this part of Māori culture.[6] Since Melbourne's death, he is regarded as the world's foremost authority on Māori instruments.[3][6]

Nunns co-led the musicians at a dawn ceremony on opening day of Te Papa in 1998.[1] He has made recordings with musicians covering a wide variety of styles, including Moana and the Moahunters,[6] the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,[6] the New Zealand String Quartet,[7] King Kapisi,[3] and Salmonella Dub.[3] In addition, he has toured with Māori musician Whirimako Black, jazz musician Evan Parker, pianists Marilyn Crispell, Paul Grabowsky and Mike Nock, and flutist Alexa Still.[1] Nunns has worked with composers Gareth Farr, Gillian Whitehead and John Purser. He has contributed to the soundtracks for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Whale Rider.[3]

Since 2001, Nunns has held the position of research associate in the music department of the University of Waikato.[7]

Nunns has for many years had Parkinson's disease.[3]

Honours and awards

Nunns holds an honorary life membership of the New Zealand Flute Association.[1] In 2001, Nunns received a citation for services to music from the Composers Association of New Zealand.[7] He was a category winner twice in the New Zealand Music Awards (in 2006 and 2007).[1] He was bestowed an honorary doctorate by Victoria University of Wellington in 2008 for his contributions to Tāonga Puoro.[1] In the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours, Nunns was awarded the Queen's Service Medal, for services to taonga pūoro.[8] Later that year he and Melbourne were jointly inducted in the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.[6][9][10] Later in the same year, he received a Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.[1]

A pūtōrino (flute/trumpet)
A pūtātara (conch horn)
A (traditional musical bow)
A porotiti, which is spun very quickly and then blown at


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  2. ^ Newton, Katherine; Gadd, David (18 November 2009). "Ihimaera a laureate amid controversy". The Dominion Post. Fairfax New Zealand. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Vicki (23 September 2011). "Our Musical Guardian". GO (a weekly supplement to The Press). Christchurch. p. 10.
  4. ^ "Richard Nunns". Matamata College. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Richard Nunns". Christchurch Arts Festival. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Maori traditions earn kudos for musicians". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b c "Richard Nunns". University of Waikato. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Four Nelson honours in list". The Nelson Mail. Fairfax New Zealand. 1 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  9. ^ New Zealand Press Association (18 September 2009). "Lawrence Arabia wins silver scroll". Fairfax New Zealand. Archived from the original on 24 October 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns". APRA | AMCOS New Zealand. Retrieved 24 September 2011.

External links

This page was last updated at 2020-03-03 04:52, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari