Rob is the current Creative NZ / Jack C. Richards 2017 Composer-In-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University, Wellington


Image by Emma Allen del Castillo

Rob Thorne

Performer / Composer

Rob is a profoundly original voice in the evolving journey of Taonga Puoro.
His inaugural solo album on Rattle Records, "Whāia Te Māramatanga" (2013) is a deeply felt and highly concentrated conversation between the past and the present - a musical passage of identity and connection. Using modern loop technology and traditional Māori flutes and horns made from stone, bone, shell and wood, Rob creates a transcendent aural experience that touches the soul with timeless beauty. Every performance is a stunning and very personal exploration of the spiritual and healing qualities of an ancient practise.

"Thorne has successfully re-imagined and reconstructed traditional Māori instrumental music for the 21st century." - NZ Musician

Fis and Rob Thorne

Electronics / Taonga Puoro

In a unique collaboration, Māori sound artist Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) and Berlin based electronic composer Fis dismantle boundaries in space, time, and genre, juxtaposing Thorne’s living, breathing practice with the weight of modern sound systems.

"Thorne's unique instrumentation awash with Fis' juggernaut mix of murky electronics" - Bleep

"These two musicians hit with a weight of a dynamo" - Fluid Radio

Te Ao Hou / This New World - Rob Thorne and the New Zealand String Quartet

Chamber Music and Taonga Puoro

At the heart of Te Ao Hou | This New World are the stone, wood, shell and bone of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments). Born of the earth and water, these instruments produce sounds unique to Aotearoa. Conjuring a realm of light and dreams is Rob Thorne, a master of taonga pūoro, performing the world premiere of his Tomokanga with the New Zealand String Quartet.

Music by New Zealand composers Gillian Whitehead, Gareth Farr and Salina Fisher further ignites the synergies between taonga pūoro and Western string instruments. Another ground-breaking collaboration by the virtuosic New Zealand String Quartet, our leading chamber ensemble.


Tania Giannouli and Rob Thorne

Piano and Taonga Puoro

The ancient cultures of Greece and Aotearoa inform this expressive set of textural tapestries from pianist Tania Giannouli and one of the leading taonga pūoro exponents, Rob Thorne.

REWA was recorded over a two-day period in May 2017, less than a day after Tania and Rob met for the first time. It was a potentially risky endeavour, but they agreed in advance that if nothing tangible came out of the session they would simply put it down to experience, little knowing that they were about to lay the foundations for an exceptional new album.

A project of deep and visceral improvisations by two uncompromising explorative musicians.

"Essential, Important and Fascinating" Graham Reid,

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Pyramid Lake

Indigenous Free Jazz

Four dynamic musicians from Wellington, New Zealand with varying backgrounds from noise rock, taonga pūoro and jazz to contemporary classical who share a love for improv & sonic exploration.

Dexter Stanley-Tauvao - drums
Glen Downie - saxophones
Simon Eastwood - double bass

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Te Kōkī Acousmatic Dawn Chorus and Birdsong Archive Project


Coming from a desire to explore and engage with issues around soundscape ecology and sustainability, the amplitude of species diversity over time and the impacts of extinction, acoustic archaeology, and the ways art and science can work together to bring understanding and change. Te Kōkī: An Acousmatic Performance is the first of a series in a longitudinal research project that will incorporate ecological population science and data sonification to formulate models of sonic representation. 
In association with Kent Macpherson of WINTEC, the NZ School of Music and Zealandia.


Thorne / Johnston

Live Filtered Electronics of Taonga Puoro.

"Five conversations between taonga pūoro and performative technology"

Manifesto for a drowning nation: The form we use to keep up to date with the world is tearing us apart through our togetherness - the same way cultural identities are strengthened through a globalised world, so too are personal identities threatening a return to base tribalism - We are prompted to identify things that make us different rather than our shared humanity. A meta-cognitive paradigm shift must occur within each of us if we are to survive: A mindfulness practise - A compassion practise - Te Reo must be in schools - Plant trees - Representative democracy continues to fail many people - Energy must be part of the ‘Shared Commons’, the land is what sustains us and belongs to all. A return to commoning is crucial, with an emphasis on ‘conviviality’. We are tied to a large weight pulling us towards a cataclysmic change. Now more than ever we need visions of what could be, not just a refusal of what is.

George Johnston, sonic artist, noise generator.