Heritage funding to restore Hall of Memories organ

Published on 22 December 2023

Mr Hinds HOM.jpg

The Waitaki Heritage Fund has provided $15,000 to support the restoration of the Hall of Memories pipe organ.

The pipe organ was installed in the hall in 1931, built by Lawton and Osborn and designed by Christchurch cathedral organist John Christopher Bradshaw. Mr Bradshaw also opened the organ with a performance on December 8 1931.

The organ was electrified in 1967, having run on a tubular pneumatic system prior to that. The last major restoration of the organ occurred in 1996, by the South Island Organ Company Ltd.

The organ was removed and new wiring was put in, often involving climbing inside the walls to reach the organ chambers.

The South Island Organ Company Ltd will also be undertaking this restoration, as the only company in the South Island with the knowledge and skills for this project.

The public last got to hear the 1500 pipe organ during this year's Heritage Week Celebrations, when Indonesian-born Helen Lukman-Fox took the audience on a delightful journey spanning diverse genres and cultures. That event was a gold-coin entry, with money also going towards the restoration of the organ.

With the Hall of Memories building being transferred to Ministry of Education ownership, to ensure the building is earthquake strengthened and maintained, the organ remains in the care of the Hall of Memories Trust.

The work is expected to take between one and two years, alongside other restoration work that is planned for the Category 1 Historic Place building.