Activity for ‘Maui and the Nose Flute’

Maui and the Nose Flute

by Sione Tu’itahi

Written in both Tongan and English, Benjamin’s dad shares the legend of Maui from long ago and how he brought the secret to the wisdom of the gods to Tonga.

Maui discovered that the secret lay in the beautiful music of the nose flute. So, stealing a piece of bamboo from Pulotu, the island of the gods, Maui fashioned it into a nose flute and escaped. Although the gods tried to stop him with four strong winds and an enormous shark, Maui survived and taught the people of Tonga about the secret. This story was nominated because it is one of the few books which represent Tongan culture, and the nose flute has a particular connection with Tonga.

Please note that these activities are suggestions which have not yet been trialled. We welcome any feedback on how they play out in the classroom (see the feedback section).

Activity: TRADITIONAL PASIFIKA INSRTUMENTS (The Arts/ Social Sciences)

Curriculum Level 1, 2 & 3(see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing
  • managing self

Activity

 

This story provides a great starting point for exploring traditional instruments of the Pacific.

1. After reading the story, establish that the nose flute is a traditional instrument from the Pacific Islands, and is of particular importance to the island of Tonga – it is their national imstrument. If possible, have a nose flute available for children to look at, hold, and maybe have a go at playing!  Wikipedia has more information on nose flutes:

Some video clips of a nose flute being played:

2. Ask the students if they know of any other traditional Pacific Island instruments – Watercress Tuna and the children of Champion Street by Patricia Grace is a good book to share at this point.

List students ideas on the board, and you may wish to add some more of your own.

3. Explain to the students that they are going to explore these instruments, to find out

  • what they are made from
  • how they are played
  • which Pacific Island country (s) they come from

At Level 1, this could be done as a class. Try to have the instruments available for children to look at, touch and play themselves. Children could make predictions about the instruments in groups first, and then share their predictions with the class.

At Levels 2 and 3, students could work in groups to find out about a different instrument each, which they could then report back on to the class. They will need access to internet and library resources to do this.

Examples of traditional Pacific Island instruments:pate – a Rarotongan slit drumconch trumpet– used throughout Polynesia, used often as a signaling device

wooden drum– used on many Pacific Islands, made out of a log of wood

ukulele – a small, 4 stringed guitar-like instrument

stamping tubes – tuned and made of bamboo

Materials

  • instruments from the Pacific Islands (if possible)
  • internet and library access

Curriculum Links

The Arts

Music: Sound Arts

  • explore and share ideas about music from a range of sound environments and recognise that music serves a variety of purposes and functions in their lives and in their communities (Level 1 & 2)
  • explore how sound is made, as they listen and respond to the elements of music: beat, rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics and tone colour (Level 1)
  • respond to live and recorded music (Level 1 & 2)
  • explore and identify how sound is made and changed, as they listen and respond to the elements of music and structural devices (Level 2)
  • identify and describe the characteristics of music associated with a range of sound environments, in relation to historical, social and cultural contexts (Level 3)
  • explore ideas about how music serves a variety of purposes and functions in their lives and in their communities (Level 3)
  • explore and identify how sound is made and changed, as they listen and respond to music and apply knowledge of the elements of music, structural devices and technologies (Level 3)

Social Sciences

  • understand how the past is important to people (Level 1)
  • understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions and values (Level 2)
  • understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes (Level 3)

Other Ideas

  • dramatise the story of Maui and the Nose Flute (Drama)
  • use the traditional artwork in the book as inspiration for children’s own Pasifika designs (Visual Art)
  • illustrate a part of the story (Visual Art)
  • explore other myths and legends from the Pacific Islands (English/ Social Sciences)
  • This book could be used in class with Tongan language speaking students to develop their home language, as well as support their English language learning (Learning Languages)

Links to other PPBC books

Watercress Tuna and the children of Champion Street by Patricia Grace

Tane Steals the Show by Lino Nelisi

The Wooden Drum by Vivaliatama Elesoni Talagi

– these books all describe Pacific instruments, music and dance.