Restoring the concert organ

Renowned for its sound quality and historical value, the Wellington Town Hall concert organ is carefully being removed for cleaning and restoration work while the Town Hall is earthquake strengthened.

Why the organ is being restored

Watch the video, hear the organ and learn why we're restoring it

How the work is to be done

The South Island Organ Company (SIOC) has removed the Town Hall organ so that concrete piles can be installed beneath the floor where it sits, and the north wall facing Civic Square can be strengthened. Parts of the organ will go to the SIOC in Timaru for restoration or repair and the rest will be stored carefully in Council buildings.

In 2016, when the Town Hall strengthening work has finished, the SIOC will put it all back together again.

This huge job is not without its challenges. We don’t have the instruction manual from when it was built, but we do have some drawings to help us with taking the organ apart. As the SIOC do the work, they will prepare more detailed drawings we can use in the future. There are parts of the organ we haven’t had access to since its 1906 installation, so we may be in for some surprises when we get to those areas.

NZ Lotteries has funded $847,900 of the $1.45 million needed to restore the organ. This cost includes:

  • installing scaffolding
  • transporting parts to the SIOC in Timaru to be overhauled
  • preparing other parts for storing
  • putting it all back together.

Removing the organ

The Wellington Town Hall organ was disassembled over several weeks November - December 2013. Watch this time-lapse video of the process.

Photo gallery

Check out the photos showing the preparation work before the organ could be taken apart and removed.