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Renowned Taonga Pūoro Champion Richard Nunns Has Passed Away

Story Published Tuesday 8 June 2021
Richard Nunns

Today we pay our deepest respects to Richard Nunns, and send our greatest sympathy to his family and extended musical whanau.

Richard has been not only enormously influential in contributing to the preservation and development of taonga pūoro and the wider music of Aotearoa, but is also much loved by his many students and collaborators, and held in great esteem by kaitito pūoro and kaitito pūoru around the motu.

“We will mourn the loss of a beloved artist, musician and friend, Richard Nunns. His passionate exploration of te ao pūoro is iconic and has made a lasting and memorable impact.

“His participation, celebration and love of Māori music alongside the late Dr Hirini Melbourne will forever sit as a rich contribution to the continuum of our ongoing musical tapestry in Aotearoa. We extend all our aroha to Richard’s whānau and friends at this time and say thank you for exciting the air with sounds to cherish and remember. Moe mai rā e te rangatira”, says Tama Waipara, renowned songwriter and co-chair of SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music.

His research, performances, teachings, and recordings, and particularly his work alongside Hirini Melbourne, will remain treasured always, and recognised not only for their musical power, but also their cultural importance.

Richard was awarded an honorary doctorate by Victoria University of Wellington and in 2009 he was awarded a QSM (Queens Service Medal) for services to taonga puoro. In the same year he was admitted to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame and became an Artist Laureate of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.