FOR FRIENDS AND DONORS
The unique Māori stops for the
Town Hall Organ
| (A 'work in progress' newsletter was mistakenly dispatched.
This is the real thing! Ed.)
The restoration of the Auckland Town Hall Organ offers the
chance to include ideas that would not have occurred to its
original 1911 builders.
City Organist Dr. John Wells was keen that the instrument
should contain something uniquely of New Zealand –
organ versions of Māori instruments.
After consultation with Māori instrument specialist, Richard Nunns,
the Kōauau (flute) and the Pūkāea (trumpet) were selected as the
best choice for inclusion in the organ.
Orgelbau Klais took up the challenge with enthusiasm.
The Kōauau, traditionally made from bone, would be made using
scientific glass, the hardest usable substance next to bone.
The Pūkāea’s traditional form of conical hollowed-out wood would
be mirrored in the organ version with the lowest twenty four pipes
having conical square-section resonators made of timber.
A further challenge involved extending the traditional instruments’
limited range to the organ’s sixty-one note compass requirement.
Klais’s ideas went further than just developing the sounds.
The wooden pipes would be offered to the principal Māori tribe in
Auckland for the application of traditional artwork either by
painting or carving.
The Auckland City Council facilitated the meeting.
On January 27, Philipp Klais was invited to meet representatives
of Ngāti Whātua o Orakei on their Marae in Auckland to make
Accompanied by project consultant Ian Bell from the United
Kingdom, Dr Wells, members of the Town Hall Organ Trust and
the Auckland City Council, Philipp Klais was accorded a Pōwhiri.
A lone Māori voice chanted a Karanga as the official party advanced
towards the Whare Tupuna (meeting house).
Once inside, Ngāti Whātua o Orakei Trust Board members, headed
by chairman Grant Hawke, sat on one side while the guests sat
facing them on the other.
| Tribe representatives expressed their support for the project and
their enthusiasm for decorating some of the pipes, and introduced
their chosen carver, Arekatera Maihi.
Philipp Klais then presented a Pūkāea pipe and explained how it
could be carved.
Later, Arekatera Maihi was given a tour of the organ so he could see
exactly where the Pūkāea and Kōauau would be placed – in the Solo
Organ, at the instrument’s highest level.
Usually, the pipes behind an organ’s façade are seen only by organ
builders and tuners, but in Auckland’s case the various passageways
and stairways are built to accommodate guided tours. The Māori-
sounding pipes in the Town Hall organ will be seen as well as heard!
| THE PICTURES IN THE ISSUE:
1. Guests awaiting the call onto to Orakei Marae.
2. Guests seated in the Meeting House.
3. Ngāti Whātua representatives address the meeting.
4. Philipp Klais explains the project.
5. Consultant Ian Bell shows carver Arekatera Maihi
how the organ Pūkāea will make its sound. Thomas
von Heymann - left (organ builder in charge of installation)
and company head Philipp Klais look on.
6. Pūkāea pipes under construction at Orgelbau Klais in Bonn.
7. During his visit to Bonn in June last year, City Organist, John
Wells observes the voicing of the other Māori stop,
| THE MONTHS AHEAD
In August three further 40 foot containers will arrive from Germany.
These will contain around 5000 organ pipes.
When installed, each one will be 'voiced' to match the Great Hall.
The voicing team from Bonn will spend four months on this task
working around the many bookings in the Town Hall.
After the organ's settling in period, a grand inauguration concert
is planned for March 2010 - with other celebratory events to
Already the organ's mechanism and largest pipes are in place
behind its gleaming restored facade.
If you hear organ-like sounds in the Town Hall, don't be fooled.
They don't yet come from the mighty pipe organ but from the
temporary electronic instrument whose loudspeakers sit in front of
the real thing!
| These monthly newsletters are prepared by Kerry Stevens for the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust.