The sound of the pūtātara heralds arrivals to a marae or the birth of a child. It is also used to summon people for formal learning or as a call to arms. Pūtātara are highly prized. The triton shell is rarely found in Aotearoa, only sometimes washed up on beaches in the Far North. It is regarded therefore as a special gift of Tangaroa, the god of the sea. The mouthpiece to the pūtātara pictured was carved by Brian Flintoff, gifted to Te Papa in 1997 as part of the Haumanu collection.