Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • To create a sound, there needs to be movement. That’s because sound is a form of energy. This activity uses a model of a pūrerehua (or pūrorohū) – a Māori musical instrument – to investigate the link between movement and sound.

    Traditionally, pūrerehua are made from bone, wood or stone. They have an oval (elliptical) shape and a long cord. When the pūrerehua swings in the air, it makes a whirring sound. The pitch varies depending on how fast the pūrerehua is swung. Swinging the pūrerehua rapidly produces a higher-pitched sound, and swinging it slowly produces a lower-pitched sound.

    Students are encouraged to use a variety of materials to create pūrerehua and investigate how the materials affect the sound the pūrerehua makes and to investigate speed and pitch.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • experiment with movement and sound
    • begin to discuss the relationship between movement and sound
    • design and create a model of a pūrerehua
    • use the pūrerehua to create sound
    • discuss differences in the sounds created by pūrerehua made of different materials
    • retell some of the cultural aspects of pūrerehua.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content and activities

    Building Science Concepts: Exploring sound is a partial replication of the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Building Science Concepts Book 18 Exploring Sound: Using Sound-makers and Musical Instruments. The article and interactive cover the science notes provided in the original BSC book.

    Sound – lower primary is a collection of resources and notes for educators. You are welcome to copy the collection to your own profile, where you can edit and curate additional resources. The article Creating collections tells you how to get the most out of a collection.

    Sounds of Aotearoa is a recorded PLD session that features educators from the New Zealand Association of Primary Science Educators (NZAPSE) exploring fun ways to learn and teach about sound.

    Additional activities for investigating sound with younger students:

    Useful link

    Watch these YouTube videos:

    Otago Museum’s The sounds of taoka puoro has a collection of images of taoka puoro (Māori musical instruments) and the sounds they make.

    View a carved wooden pūrerehua held in Te Papa Tongarewa’s Taonga Māori Collection. has waiata, whai and information about traditional pūrerehua.

      Published 16 August 2021 Referencing Hub articles
          Go to full glossary
          Download all