Richard Nunns is one of our most important musical ambassadors. If Rattle has one regret, it’s that we didn’t document more of his extraordinary collaborations.
Given the relative simplicity and limitations of his vast array of beautifully crafted instruments, he attracted the interest and admiration of musicians, composers, and performing artists throughout the world, many of whom he performed and/or recorded with.
In 2017 we released Utterance, a excellent album, made with David Long and Natalia Mann, that would prove to be his last recording. Soon after, Richard’s illness compelled him to pack his wonderful collection of taonga pūoro away permanently, instruments that for decades were an extension of his body, his breath, his heart, and his soul.
Dr. Richard Nunns QSM is one of New Zealand’s most respected performers and researchers of Maori music and instruments. He has performed and recorded widely both within New Zealand and internationally and with a wide range of musical genre from Moana and the Moahunters, through jazz to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Richard began his research and collaboration with Hirini Melbourne in the 1990s. Their recordings for Rattle, Te Ku Te Whe and Te Hekenga-a-rangi, are regarded as seminal works of indigenous music.
Richard was made an honorary life member of the New Zealand Flute Association, and in 2001 was awarded the KBB Citation for Services to New Zealand Music presented by the Composers Association of New Zealand. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Victoria University, and in 2009 a Queens Service Medal for services to Taonga Puoru. He was admitted to the NZ Music Hall of Fame, and is an Artist Laureate of the NZ Arts Foundation.
Richard was, and always will be, one of Rattle’s most important and treasured collaborators. While his body of work is much greater than the albums he did with Rattle, the recordings we released are, nevertheless, some of the most important and influential works of recorded art to come out of this country, and we are proud of having had the opportunity to work with and advocate on behalf of this mighty Kauri and beloved taonga.