The Trustees are the unpaid guardians of the Auckland Town Hall Organ.
They work with groups and individuals such as the Auckland Philharmonia, the Choral Federation of New Zealand, organ students and touring organists from around the world to ensure the organ is promoted and heard regularly.
Above image: Auckland Town Hall Organ Trustees Nicholas Forbes, Chairman Kerry Stevens, Deputy Mayor of Auckland Desley Simpson JP, John Sinclair (absent: Matt Pestle, Soomin Kim) | Photo by Hans Weichselbaum, 2023.
Kerry Stevens had a forty-five year career in radio and television as presenter, producer and trainer across a number of New Zealand locations. During three years with Foreign Affairs he was English Programme Advisor to the Fiji Broadcasting Commission and enjoyed a stint at the training school of Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne. His final posting saw fifteen years as executive producer for Radio New Zealand Concert in Auckland. Kerry studied piano and organ, worked part-time with an organ builder (even building his own organ) and sang in several choirs. As an advisor to the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust he devised the Adopt-a-Pipe scheme, produced a documentary on the building of the organ and gave dozens of presentations around the city. He became deputy chairman in 2010 and was elected chairman in 2020 following the departure of Kevin Bishop for Napier.
Deputy Chairman & Treasurer
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.
Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson JP
Council Representative on the Trust
Deputy Mayor of Auckland Desley Simpson has a long family association with the Town Hall organ. The first organ installed at the Auckland Town Hall in 1911 was gifted by her great, great, great uncle, Sir Henry Brett – Mayor of Auckland in 1878. He also secured the appointment of a city organist. Desley is a Justice of the Peace, very active in the local community and an organist. She is a Councillor for Auckland – Orākei Ward, and is the council representative on the Trust.
An Architect who has been involved in projects throughout New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific, John has a long history of governance. He is a past president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, former Vice President of Oceania on the Commonwealth Association of Architects and has represented New Zealand in several other international forums. He has also previously served as a member of the Chamber Music New Zealand Board, The Auckland War Memorial Trust, New Zealand Academic Qualifications Authority, Musica Sacra, Auckland YMCA Board and Holy Trinity Cathedral Council.
A conductor, singer and organist working throughout Auckland, Nicholas is the Director of Music at St Matthew-in-the-City and Organist of King's College, Otahuhu. Originally from Christchurch, he studied at the University of Auckland under Dr. John Wells and Dr. Karen Grylls CNZM, and is currently studying for an honours degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Adelaide under Dr. Luke Dollman. Nicholas is a Conducting Fellow with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducts Harbour Voices choir in Takapuna and GALS, Auckland's rainbow choir.
Soomin Kim is an organist and pianist based in Auckland. She regularly performs at services at All Saints Anglican Church Ponsonby and Pitt St Methodist Church, and has been collaborating with various individual musicians and ensembles, including the Auckland Philharmonia.
Born in Korea, she began learning the piano at the age of six and continued on the instrument after moving to NZ at 15. In 2021 she completed a conjoint degree in Bachelor of Music (Classical Performance) and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at the University of Auckland where she was introduced to the organ world. Her achievements include being selected as a Haydn Staples Piano Scholar (2019 & 2020), which involved concerti and chamber ensemble performances with APO and coaching from internationally renowned pianists; obtaining LTCL in Piano Recital (2015); and receiving the Anthony Jennings Memorial Prize (2020) (for her early keyboard studies), the Anna Nathan Early Keyboard Prizes (2018) and the second prize at the Auckland Organ Performance Competition (2020).
Music provides the balance in Soomin’s life, which is otherwise spent as an accountant.
The Original Trustees
Photo of the original Auckland Town Hall Organ Trustees: Doug Astley, Stephen Hamilton QSM (Chairman), Sue Harvey, Patricia Goddard, Paul Harrop ONZM, Donald Trott ONZM JP. Absent: Graham Coxhead. | Photo by Kevin Bishop, 2010.
Donald Trott ONZM JP and Stephen Hamilton QSM