puutoorino a raukatauri

in english there is only one word for moth but in maaori there are lots and each has slightly different connotations and meaning. puureehua, puurehurehu, puurerehu, puurerehua, pepe, peepepe are some alternatives to ‘moth’. i think that moths must be very important to new zealand which may be due to the fact that new zealand has the highest percentage of moth species which are only found here. one very special moth is the common bag moth or puutoorino a raukatauri or liothula omnivora of the psychidae family.

“The name Raukatauri comes from the legend of Hine Raukatauri, the Goddess of Flutes, who is the personification of Music.  In Maori legend, Hine Raukatauri is the casemoth who lives in her elongated cocoon that hangs from many native trees.  Maori make a unique flute, the putorino, in the shape of the casemoth’s home.

The male casemoth pupates and flies away, but the female remains in her case.  At night as the breeze blows through the cocoon, the call of the female moth to her lover is heard as a sweet but barely audible sound.  This has been the inspiration for all Maori flute music.”

maaori culture uses more wind instruments rather than ones that are struck which is particularly unusual in the larger scheme of things but understandable after reading about hine raukatauri. the puutoorino is arguably the best maaori musical instrument. it has three different timbres used for different occasions and each is sacred. a flute sound is made by blowing across the hole in the middle and is the female voice depicting hine raukatauri, a trumpet sound is made at one end and is the male voice, and it also can be sung into.

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