About Us

The Auckland Town Hall Organ TrustTHO 3quarter view

The Trustees are the unpaid guardians of the Town Hall Organ.  They work with groups and individuals such as the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Choral Federation of New Zealand, organ students and touring organists from around the world, to ensure the organ is promoted and heard regularly.

The Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust Deed states that the Council recognises the musical, aesthetic and heritage value of the organ and the need for its management and care, as well as its use.  The Deed also sets out the objectives of the Trust that include the presentation of free concerts to the public each year, a stipulation of former Auckland mayor Henry Brett, who gave the entire amount required to build the original organ in 1911.

The Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust was incorporated on 17 October 2006, and is registered as a charity with
New Zealand Charities Services.  Our registration number is CC30369.

During 2016 and 2017, the Trustees of the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust are:

Kevin Bishop (Chairman & Treasurer) Desley Simpson  JP
Kerry Stevens (Deputy Chairman) Matt Pestle
Richard Leigh JP (Secretary) Tim McWhannell

Donald Trott ONZM JP  and Stephen Hamilton QSM 
have recently been elected as a Foundation Members of the Trust.

We’re looking for new trustees

The Trust is currently seeking new trustees with skills to complement those of the present trustees.
Trustees need not be organists but must have a passion for the Auckland Town Hall Organ,
concern for its care and a willingness to promote its use.
Trustees are not paid, being keen to raise the profile of New Zealand’s newest,
largest and most important concert organ.
The Trust presents a series of concerts each year in association with Auckland Live and the APO,
engages with the wider musical community and promotes the organ in a number of ways.

If this is of interest to you, please contact in the first instance:

Notes on our current Trustees

Kevin Bishop is the general manager of Selwyn Heights, a retirement village.  With wide-ranging experience in management accounting and business advisory services, over the years he has worked in many organisations including private education and large corporates and small business enterprises.  His involvement in arts groups has ranged from advisory work to the development and general management of choirs and instrumental ensembles.  His academic background includes demography and educational psychology with master’s studies in music and business management.

Kerry Stevens had a forty-five year career in radio and television, ending with fifteen years as executive producer for Radio New Zealand Concert in Auckland.  He studied piano and organ, designed a number of organs, and even built his own.

Richard Leigh ran IT companies in the UK for many years and supported his community as chairman of the parish council and other groups, and as a lay magistrate.  Since moving to NZ, he has played an active role in several community groups and is an active Justice of the Peace on the Hibiscus Coast.

Desley Simpson has a long family association with the Town Hall organ.  The first organ installed at the Auckland Town Hall in 1912 was donated by her great-great grandfather Sir Henry Brett – mayor of Auckland in 1878.  He also secured the appointment of a city organist.  She is a Justice of the Peace, very active in the local community and an organist.  Desley is a Councillor for Auckland – Orākei Ward, and is the council representative on the Trust.

Matt Pestle is a self-employed IT consultant.  A keen amateur musician, Matt studies piano with Rosemary Barnes, sings occasionally in choirs and enjoys dabbling with software organs.  His latest organ project converted the retired 3-manual console from St Matthew-in-the-City into a software practice organ now residing with Dr Indra Hughes.

Tim McWhannell  has been an organist since the age of 15.  In the 1980’s he played three Sunday afternoon concerts on the Croft Organ in Auckland Town Hall and from 1994 to 1999 was organist of St Matthew-in-the-City.  He is currently chair of the Music Events Group at St Matthew’s, a committee which organises and promotes concerts within the iconic building and cultural hub in central Auckland.