The heart and soul of Te Vaka lies with the Pate or the Log Drums, this along with the open tuning is what gives Te Vaka it's signature sound. Anyone who is familiar with Te Vaka music will know that these drums are not only used for percussion but are incorporated into the songs as well.

Te Vaka was the originator of the 3 tier log drum stand which gives each drummer a variety of log drums to play during a performance or recording. This innovative idea has been copied by many log drumming groups since it's inception. It was originally designed by Opetaia and his father in law, Brian Clay in 1997 to accommodate the new beats being performed live by the band. This combination established the Te Vaka sound that has been seen and heard all around the world.

Naming the drums - In 1996, while experimenting with log drum grooves, it became necessary to give each percussive instrument a name so that the drummers knew instantly which drum was being referred to during rehearsals etc. These names are now in common use by Te Vaka members but they were all names made up by Opetaia.

   Bass skin drum                                   Rythym log drums
     PA'U MALU (skin bass drum)                                    PATE TOA (Rythym log drum) & PATE LIKI (Small log drums)

   Running skin drum                                       Lead Long drum
     PA'U VILI (Running drum)                                         PATE ULU (Lead log drum)

 Te Vaka Log Drums