A gourd is a type of plant used throughout the Pacific region. Squash and melons are gourds. When dried and hardened, the fruit of the gourd has many uses. People throughout the Pacific region use hollowed-out gourds to carry water and other liquids and as musical instruments.
This gourd instrument was made by the Maori of New Zealand. Some gourd flutes were played by blowing air through the nose into one of the holes in the side. This one probably worked differently. When swung around in the air by its cord, it made a whistling noise. It may have been used to call birds.
Maori instruments are made from natural materials in the local environment including conch shells, wood and whale bones. The second picture above shows a collection of instruments. The other pictures show other gourd flutes in the museum's collection.