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The Coming of the Maori



The Polynesian shark-skin drum was made by hollowing out a section of tree trunk, leaving a partition or diaphragm in the lower half and closing the upper end with a shark-skin cover. The instrument was played with the bare hands and drum Sticks were not used. It was present in Society, Cook, Austral, Tuamotu, Mangareva, Marquesas, and Hawaii but absent in Samoa, Tonga, Easter Island, and New Zealand. Though page 253the technique of fixing and tautening the shark-skin cover by cords varied, the drum was named pahu in all the islands where it was present. Its absence in New Zealand is peculiar because the last shipment of settlers for New Zealand by the Fleet in 1350 A.D. left central Polynesia after the Hawaiian ancestors had sailed north from the same centre taking the drum with them.