William Webster's Pipe Organs

The Webster family history says that William Webster built 2 or 3 pipe organs while living in the howling wilderness of the ruggedly beautiful Wairere valley.  According to an account from the crew of the "HMS Pandora", a survey ship,  the pipe organ on the left was half completed in November 1851. It has been built for the Harmonic Society at Auckland and is still in working order. It can be viewed at the Auckland Museum.

He also built two organs as wedding gifts for his daughters.  This must have been at a later stage, as he got married to Annabella (Hanapara) on the 20.05.51


Some of the information are contradictory.  The New Zealand Herald 21.09.68 writes:

The pipe organ was built by John Webster's brother,  William, between 1845 and 1850. 

It was built part from cedar imported from Australia,  but the remainder, including the flute pipes,  was made of native woods--kauri, kahikatea, matai, and tanekaha.  The white keys were cut from sperm-whale teeth obtained from Bay of Islands whalers,  while the black keys were dyed by the method the Maoris used to dye their mats. 

The organ was given to Webster's daughter.  Mrs John McK. Geddes, of Auckland and remained in the family until 1940. Then it was presented to the former Old Colonist's Museum,  whose collections were presented to the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 1966.

The organ has recently been restored by Mr R.F. Sewell and now is in working order."

Photo: The pipe organ in the Auckland Museum,  built by William Webster at Wairere, Hokianga Harbour.