A mu­si­cal his­tory to be trea­sured

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Where/what is it?

In the Art­works com­plex on the hill above the vil­lage of Oneroa, on Wai­heke Is­land, you’ll find an un­ex­pected hoard of price­less mu­si­cal trea­sures in this un­pre­ten­tious mu­seum – from an 1877 New York theatre or­gan to a sim­ple har­mon­ica. Never static, the col­lec­tion of ac­cor­dions, vi­o­lins, dul­cimers, harp­si­chords, pi­anolas, harps, and more has been re­cently joined by a 120-year-old Weller­shaus pipe or­gan from Ger­many, do­nated by Mo­tat and cur­rently be­ing re­stored. All the in­stru­ments here are care­fully main­tained and reg­u­larly played: it’s a mat­ter of pride that this is a live mu­seum, one of very few in the world.

Why go?

Equally a trea­sure are Lloyd and Joan Whit­taker, now in their 80s, whose lives have been ded­i­cated to mu­sic and have won­der­ful sto­ries to tell. In their weekly show, Lloyd talks about his iso­lated Taranaki child­hood when, start­ing with a mouth or­gan at the age of 5, he went on to teach him­self to play six in­stru­ments by ear. It was the be­gin­ning of a ca­reer in mu­sic that has brought him to this room crammed with rare and unique stringed and key­board in­stru­ments, squeeze­boxes, and mouth or­gans, the re­sult of a life­time’s ob­ses­sive col­lect­ing. Some of these in­stru­ments have fas­ci­nat­ing life his­to­ries of their own, brought to New Zealand on sail­ing ships and dragged up-coun­try on bul­lock carts. Play­ing mu­sic from Mozart to Lloyd Web­ber by way of Old MacDon­ald, Lloyd and Joan demon­strate many of the in­stru­ments.

In­sider tip

Take some­one mu­si­cal – vis­i­tors are wel­come to ask ques­tions and play the pi­anos. Where else could you tickle the ivories of a con­cert grand once owned by the Lloyd Web­ber of the 19th cen­tury, the com­poser (and Pol­ish Prime Min­is­ter) Ig­nacy Paderewski? Or play New Zealand’s old­est Stein­way? And look out for the next con­cert: there’s a pro­gramme of vis­it­ing mu­si­cians who come from all over the world, de­lighted to lay their hands on these trea­sures.

On the way/nearby

There’s the ad­join­ing Art Gallery, with chang­ing ex­hi­bi­tions by lo­cal artists, the Com­mu­nity Cin­ema, the Art­works Theatre, and the strik­ing new li­brary. Had enough cul­ture? Go down into the vil­lage for shops, cof­fee, gelato, restau­rants, and views over the bay. Ca­ble Bay Vine­yards are within walk­ing dis­tance; there are many other winer­ies just a bus or taxi ride away. And on Wai­heke, you’re never far from a beach.

How much?

To look around, a do­na­tion of $5 is wel­comed. For the Satur­day show, it costs $12.50 for adults, $10 for se­nior cit­i­zens, and $8 for stu­dents. Ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren are free.

Best time to go

On a Satur­day at 1.30pm, for the 90-minute live show. The mu­seum is open 1pm-4pm daily, some­times from 10am on busy week­ends. See mu­si­cal­mu­seum.org. – Pamela Wade

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.