1999 Music


Chamber ensemble (2-7 players)

For flute and piano

Taurangi was commissioned by the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in 2000, during which it received its first performance by Bridget Douglas and Rachel Thompson. It’s dedicated to the memory of John Mansfield Thomson.

About the work

I began writing Taurangi in the shadow of both the East Timor crisis and the death of my good friend and sometime mentor of many years, the musicologist and historian John Mansfield Thomson. These events modified both the original formal ideas and the detail of the piece.

Williams’ A Dictionary of the Māori Language gives 4 meanings for the word ‘taurangi’ — ‘unsettled’, ‘changing or changeable’, ‘incomplete, unsatisfied, unfulfilled’, ‘to grieve for’ and ‘wanderer’.

Scores and recordings

Taurangi was published by Waiteata Music Press in 2001. It is also available in a digital format.

Taurangi — publication

There are 2 recordings of Taurangi on CD

Taurangi — CD

Composer portrait: Gillian Whitehead — CD

You can also hear a recording online.

Taurangi — video (audio only)


Kirsten Eade focused on this work in her dissertation.

The influence of Māori music traditions in the flute compositions of Gillian Whitehead — publication


Chamber ensemble (2-7 players), Works with taonga pūoro

Duet for flute and taonga pūoro

Hineraukatauri was written for, and dedicated to, Alexa Still and Richard Nunns. They gave the first performance at the 1999 National Flute Convention in Atlanta, USA.

About the work

In Māori tradition, Hineraukatauri is the goddess of music and dance. She is embodied in the form of the female case-moth, who hangs in the bushes and sings in a pure, high voice to attract the male moths to her. Her hair is found as a fern, the hanging spleenwort, and her voice is heard in the sound of the pūtōrino, an instrument known only in Aotearoa. The pūtōrino is an instrument that can be played in various ways – as a flute, as a trumpet and as a means of enhancing or altering the human voice.

Instrumentation and scoring

The flautist plays piccolo, concert flute and alto flute.

The taonga pūoro include 3 different pūtōrino — one made of albatross bone and 2 of wood, and both the flute and trumpet voices are used. Other instruments used are a karanga manu (bird-caller), a pūrerehua (swung bull-roarer) and tumutumu (tapped instruments).

The flute player’s part is notated, but the music for the taonga pūoro is improvised; there are areas when the flute player is encouraged to improvise with the taonga.

Scores and recordings

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ, or buy an MP3 recording.

Hineraukatauri — SOUNZ

There are several CD recordings of this work.

Puhake ki te rangi — CD

Quays — CD

Silver Stone Wood Bone — CD and digital album

Hineraukaturi has been recorded twice as part of SOUNZ’s Resound project.

Hineraukatauri — video 2017

Hineraukatauri — video 2012

Hineraukatauri was also included on a double CD called Sound Barrier, a major promotional project for New Zealand music.

Sound Barrier — CD


Kirsten Eade focused on this work in her dissertation.

The influence of Māori music traditions in the flute compositions of Gillian Whitehead — publication

E rewa mai, e rā

Solo voice

For solo voice

Text by the composer

E rewa mai, e rā was premiered by Ana Good (soprano) at dawn on Allen’s Beach on the seaward side of the Otago Peninsula on 1 January 2000.

About the work

E rewa mai, e rā is an invocation to the sun, asking it to rise, to give light, so that all living things will thrive and be healthy, so that the rain will fall. It is 2000 years since the coming of Christ. Rise, sun. It was composed on 30 December 1999.

There are 3 versions of this work: one for low voice, one for high voice, and a traditional waiata.

Score and recording

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

E rewa mai, e rā — SOUNZ

An archival performance on CD was released in 2004.

Pakiwaitara o te Pouakai; Te heke o te Maiharoa — CD