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Kura Koiwi book launch makes old bones sing

Media release: for immediate use, 25 August 2011 (author photo attached)

Kura Koiwi book launch makes old bones sing

A beautifully illustrated book that looks at the traditions of bone carving will be launched with a performance using musical instruments made from bone and carved specifically for the occasion.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to hear a performance using only bone instruments,” says Brian Flintoff, a Nelson based artist and author of Taonga Puoro: Singing Treasures and now also the soon to be released Kura Koiwi: Bone Treasures.

“Fortunately the Taonga Puoro players, Haumanu i Te Papa, liked the idea too. So I began making a collection of instruments for them.”

“As I worked I dug out materials that I had put in a corner just in case a special use would be found for them. In the end I made about forty based on the traditional aspects of twelve types of instrument. Some are quite small and were able to be made in about an hour and some took days to make,” says Brian.

Brian’s work is held in private and public collections both in Aotearoa and around the world. This new book looks at how his understanding and skills as a carver developed and generously shares and illustrates these insights.
“The wealth of carvings from earlier times gives us a real link to the past, and to other cultures,” says Brian. “A 40,000 year old vulture wing-bone flute from Europe sounds just like an albatross wing-bone koauau that can be heard today.”

Kura Koiwi: Bone Treasures by Brian Flintoff will be launched at Te Papa Tongarewa on Sunday 28th August. Celebrations commence at approximately 1.30pm.

Brian's books can be purchased from your local bricks and mortar bookstore or online at: or borrowed from your local library.


Kura Koiwi: Bone Treasures by Brian Flintoff
ISBN:978 1 877517 39 6
RRP: NZ$39.99

Taonga Puoro: Singing Treasures by Brian Flintoff
ISBN: 978 1 877333 14 9
RRP: NZ$34.99

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