Richard’s story

Richard has a long history of personal commitment to researching and presenting/ performing the traditional musical instruments of the Maori, and to organising this body of knowledge into a form which is immediately understandable to people in general, particularly Maori who have lost contact with such knowledge.

As well as his ethno-musicological expertise, since Richard first began public performances on taonga puoro (Maori musical instruments), he has developed an amazing international profile, both with the diversity of his recorded work, along with performing with a wide variety of people in many differing settings and circumstances.

Richard works across a wide range of musical genres.

He has toured with Maori artists,

  • Moana Maniapoto
  • Deborah Wai Kapohe

free jazz improvisors,

  • Evan Parker
  • Jeff Henderson


  • Judy Bailey
  • Marilyn Crispell
  • Paul Grabowsky
  • Mike Nock


  • Alexa Still
  • Bridget Douglas.
  • Ingrid Culliford

Richard has had a number of performances of contemporary classical works, written specifically for him and his instruments, including performances with

  • New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  • New Zealand String Quartet.

One of the most recent of these was Puhake ki te Rangi(Spouting to the skies) composed for Richard and the New Zealand String Quartet by Gillian Whitehead while she was composer-in-residence at the Lilburn House in Wellington.

More recently Richard has been working in the electronica field with Paddy Free of Pitch Black, and has performed with the Australian Art Orchestra.

His improvisation work is truly cross cultural and has seen him performing with Performers from Iran, Australian Aboriginal, First Nation America, Korea, Bolivia China, Turkey, Germany, Finland, Scotland – a global impact.

He is continually in demand for recording with a wide range of musicians.

The launch of Brian Flintoff's book Nga Taonga Puoro at Te Papa, 2004. Richard and James Webster play the nguru, the nose flute, while Brian watches.