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Red Contributor

Rob Thorne

Composer, Performer

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New Zealand Māori composer, performer and anthropologist Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) is a diverse and original explorer in the evolving journey of Taonga Pūoro.

A musician with over 25 years performance experience in bands and solo, predominantly within alternative rock, free noise, experimental, and improvisational sound art, Rob’s work since 2001 with traditional Maori musical instruments has seen him recently complete an MA in Social Anthropology, and in the last 5 years incorporate this diverse experience to create long, beautifully transcendent, ambient compositions using loops, intelligently blending the modern with the ancient.

His journey of identity has seen him travel the country to research museum collections, teach, demonstrate, collaborate and perform, working academically and musically with masters including Richard Nunns. His Post Grad Diploma research became a museum exhibition (Koauau: The Music Within), which successfully toured New Zealand regionally for 5 years.

In 2012 he received CNZ funding to record his debut Taonga Puoro album “Whaia te Maramatanga”. He participated in a cultural exchange and performance series with Korean dancer & drummer Saes Byeol Cha and Italian born guitarist Lorenzo Buhne, was awarded Manawatu Student City Musical Artist of the Year and opened Palmerston North's Christmas in the Park.

In 2013 a number of opportunites included working with director Vanessa Stacey (Chocolate Box) on her acclaimed Summer Shakespeare show 'The Tempest'; performing with Richard Nunns at Voices of Sacred Earth conference; recording for Dudley Benson's 'Forest' remix project; composing and performing for UCOL Perf.Arts Dip. student productions; and being invited to participate collaboratively in Phil Dadson's exclusively curated island sound-art exploration Sounding Tiritirimatangi, alongside NZ greats such as Don McGlashan (The Muttonbirds). He also successfully executed a crowdfunding campaign to travel to the Peruvian Amazon to research and experience ancient indigenous sound- healing techniques. While in Lima he performed solo, collaborated with jazz drummer Steve Cournane, and lectured on his work with Taonga Puoro.

2014 brings the worldwide release of the album, and a NZ national tour, including a return to Tiritirimatangi, collaborating and performing with Phil Dadson, Chilean musician Enrique Sique, drummer Chris O’connor (Phoenix Foundation) and Michael Morley (Gate, The Dead C).

Composed (13)

Whāia Te Māramatanga Suite

for taonga puoro and electronics

Atua Kiato

for pūtōrino

Dark Water

for taonga pūoro and double bass

First Improvisation

for taonga pūoro and electric guitar with pedal

Kotahi Rārangi Ūngutu

for saxophone and taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro and live electronics


for pūtōrino


for taonga pūoro, saxophone, bass and drums

Pursue Enlightenment Suite

for taonga puoro and electronics

Te Ao Hou: Whakariterite

for taonga pūoro and string quartet


for string quartet and taonga pūoro


for taonga puoro and electronics

With the Wind

for taonga pūoro

Recordings (1)

Performances (4)

Aotearoa Audio Arts Festival

Aotearoa Audio Arts, the first festival of its kind in New Zealand, encompasses live performances...

STROMA | Voices of the World

A rich collection of works inspired by non-Western musical traditions from around the world, incl...

Orchestra Wellington | Houstoun/Triumph!

Taonga pūoro specialist __Rob Thorne__'s commissioned work is joined by Shostakovich's 8th Sympho...

Matariki ki Pōneke | Wellington Sky Show

Nau mai, haere mai – your whole whānau are warmly invited to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Ye...