Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound

Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound


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Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound


The Archive houses an ethnographic sound collection relating to the Pacific which is of national and international significance.

Established in 1970 to promote research into the music of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, and those of the people of the Pacific Islands, its holdings today include material from most tribal groups of New Zealand and most Pacific Islands areas, commercial and field recordings of vocal and instrumental music, oral histories, stories and language resources.

The Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound website has background information and contact details.


The Music of Samoa

Most of the audio material in this collection was recorded by Richard Moyle in Manua (American Samoa) and Western Samoa (now Samoa) between 1966 and 1969 during field work for Masters and later Doctoral degrees at the University of Auckland. The main purpose of the research was to identify national musical idioms and styles. On the 50th anniversary of the start of the collection, the material is being made publicly available online. It represents the only known survey of traditional Samoan music, comprehensive in both musical scope and geography.

The songs are of several categories, including feiloaiga, talaaga, alo vaa, laulau siva, mauluulu, ula, taalolo, taaloga a tamaiti, tagatia, fofo, solo tufa ava, solo sula toga, solo tau-aualuma, faleaitu, usutau, auala, siva, tini, vii o vaifanua, pese o aumoega, and pese o le Mau.

In addition to traditional songs, Moyle recorded oral tradition – lauga, fāgogo and tala – some of which formed the material for his books Samoan Traditional Music (1988) and Fāgogo: Fables from Samoa in Samoan and English (1981). Several of the fāgogo are already available online at an interactive language teaching platform:

The collection includes copies of several recordings from the 1940s and made available to Moyle while in Samoa. Although there is no documentation and the original recordings no longer exist, the songs relate to the period of the Mau.

Moyle has made the material in his collection available for non-commercial purposes and requests appropriate attribution. The collection is searchable within several fields: village, performer, and musical genre. The lyrics were supplied by the performers themselves or by fellow villagers.

Feedback on the collection is welcome.

Fāgogo: fables from Samoa presents selected Samoan fables from a large collection recorded in Samoa in the 1960s by Richard Moyle as part of a survey of traditional forms of music.

The 1981 Polynesian Festival includes streaming audio and video of performances

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