Narukami Taiko

Started by Jessie Gibbs in Wellington, Narukami Taiko has grown in leaps and bounds in just five years. The team now has over 60 members with 5 classes each week for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Team membership is diverse, open to anyone who likes to hit big drums. Members are encouraged to share their knowledge and experience with newer members, which fosters strong friendships. Narukami also have regular workshops and performances out in the community, working with Tawa Community Education, local schools and The Argo Trust, as well as being a familiar sight and sound at community festivals.

Narukami Taiko members perform 'Spring Spring Spring' at their 5th Anniversary concert 'Journey'

Photo by Alexander Hallag - The music is Talking


Taiko 太鼓 is a dynamic art form originating from ancient Japan. Taiko are a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments. In Japanese, taiko refers to any kind of drum, but outside Japan, it is used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums called wadaiko (和太鼓 "Japanese drums") and refers to taiko ensemble drumming called kumi daiko.


Before its modern-day adaptation to kumi daiko, taiko's function has varied through history, ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment, and religious ceremony to both festival and concert performances. In modern times, taiko has also played a central role in social movements for minorities both within and outside Japan. Archeological evidence shows that taiko were used in Japan as early as the 6th century CE, during the latter part of the Kofun period, and were likely used for communication and in festivals and other rituals. In feudal Japan taiko were used for war and helped set the pace for troops marching into battle. Later on specfic drum calls were used to order troops to advance or retreat.

Statue of Raijin the God of Thunder and Lightening depicted playing taiko in Sanjūsangen-dō a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.