Pipe organ to stay during restoration

17:54, Feb 09 2014
Christchurch Town Hall
'TUCKED INTO BED’: Christchurch Town Hall and its Rieger pipe organ.

The Christchurch Town Hall's organ has been "tucked into bed" while the facility is restored.

Organ curator Martin Setchell said the Rieger pipe organ would be left on site and fully protected during the hall's restoration as part of the Christchurch arts precinct project.

The Town Hall was significantly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake but the pipe organ was left unscathed.

Setchell and his wife, Jenny, were able to go into the hall recently to see the organ being "tucked into bed", before restoration work began later this year.

The organ had been completely covered by a strong plywood frame and a layer of plastic to keep it protected while the work was completed.

"There was an option to take it all away and store it, but that's expensive ... and it's a long job. It's like reassembling a jigsaw puzzle. There's also risk; very often thing go wrong," Setchell said.

The pipe organ was purchased for $1.2 million in 1997 but Setchell said it would be worth up to 20 times more than that now.

"It's an iconic instrument. It is the city's instrument - it's nothing to do with church or religion or denominations or anything like that, it's for everybody."

The Christchurch City Council had agreed to pay the full $127.5 million needed for the Town Hall restoration, which was expected to take four years.


The Press