The rare sound of a nguru - Māori nose flute - can be heard again.

It was almost stamped out during colonisation, but Napier man Layton Robertson is one of a handful of people around the country helping to revive it.

He makes taonga pūoro, traditional Māori instruments, such as nguru, pūtorino and porutu.

Mr Robertson grew up in Hastings and began carving at high school. He taught himself the art by reading books and studying Māori artefacts.


"You just start and you get better and you learn things each time and look at the old carvings and see how they were done and learn about the carvings."

It isn't just a hobby for the landscaper, but a way of life, as he uses hīnaki for diving and makes fires using māhoe wood.

But, carving nguru from akerautangi wood is his specialty.

"Some carvings are done fast and to make money, but I like the idea of doing it the old way where you had time and patience to make something amazing," he says.

The MTG Hawke's Bay is on board with Mr Robertson's efforts, showcasing taonga pūoro and selling a nguru on his behalf.

Charles Ropitini, Pou Ārahi, Strategic Māori Advisor for the MTG Hawke's Bay says there has been a revitalisation of Māori instruments.

"I think we need more artists practicing the regeneration of Māori music in a traditional sense," he says.

Mr Ropitini says the Hawke's Bay museum has one of the largest regional collections of Māori taonga, a collection which has taken years to build.

He says taonga opens people's eyes to an "old world" which is the role of the museum.

Mr Robertson says that despite almost being lost forever, the knowledge of Māori instruments is now in good hands, with the introduction of 3D scanners breathing new life into the craft.

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