Liam Bowen – A world of gourds – a world of sound (5/10/2018 – 27/10/2018)

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Please join us to celebrate the opening of Liam Bowen’s exhibition, ‘A world of gourds – a world of sound’


Liam Bowen is an Auckland-based musician and instrument maker with a background in playing and making traditional instruments, in particular those of Aotearoa, taonga pūoro. Taonga pūoro come in a number of different forms, some similar to Western instruments such as the pōrutu (and larger kōauau), rehu and nguru, which resemble flutes, the pūkaea, a wooden trumpet, or the pahū pounamu, a percussive instrument used in whare purakau. Others, such as the whirled pūrerehua, are more distinctive.

In recent years, Liam’s interest in traditional instruments has related to their connection to gourds – the hard-shelled fruits of certain plants. For thousands of years gourds have been utilised the world over to make a wide range of objects including vessels for storage and consumption, tools and musical instruments. A local example of this is the poi awhiowhio, a hollowed, punctured gourd swung above the head resulting in a whistling chatter.

“Since time immemorial gourds have been cultivated in countries across the world for a variety of uses. There is no doubt that they were grown here in Aotearoa ever since the landing of the first waka. Materially, they can be preserved for hundreds of years, but unlike plastics can also be composted when no longer needed. The variety of Taonga Pūoro that can be made from gourds is especially fascinating – from long trumpets to tiny nose flutes.”


This exhibition includes a number of instruments that can be made from gourds.

In relation to the exhibition, Liam will deliver a workshop introducing gourd growing techniques and explaining how best to dry the plants. Seeds will be provided.


Opens – Friday 5 Octoober, 5.30pm (w. refreshments from Liberty Breweries)
Hours – Tuesday – Saturday, 12.00pm – 4.00pm.
Closes – Saturday 27 October, 4.00pm