End-blown flute without duct (421.111.12). It is made of totara, the wood most frequently used by the Maori for manual work. The distance among the three fingerholes is determined by measuring it with the phalanxes.
As regards ornamentation, a profile of the maker's ancestors (Hemi Ferghus) is carved in relief alongside the flute at whose ends a band representing sea waves is cut. When the kooauau is not played, it is hung round the neck by means of a leather strip that passes through the carving. Women are forbidden the use of this instrument. Its shape symbolizes a man who sounds the flute to call his lover.
On accompanying vocal groups, the Kooauau follows their melody in unison. When played, the flute is held in a obliquing position before the mouth so that the air stream hits one of the edges while the fingerholes are stopped by the right-hand fingers.
L. 13.2 x inner 0 2 cm.
Gift, Mauri Tirikatene, 1986. IM 690