A Joyful Noise at St Stephen’s Ponsonby

In celebration of the 111th anniversary of their 1909 George Croft 2/12 pneumatic “Steve”, St Stephen’s Presbyterian Parish is throwing a PARTY!

Birthdays are there for us to celebrate, but this is not the only reason.
There is every chance this very rare in New Zealand and very significant instrument soon will be honored with a Heritage Level Status.
111 year old “Steve” is the heart and soul of the community. It quietly rumbles and forcefully whispers, it unites people when they seek togetherness and gives them wisdom in the time of reflection.

The Remarkable Start
“A pipe organ at Stephen’s church, Ponsonby was first discussed in December 1906. In December 1907 Mr Thomas Peacock, an elder at the church and retired Member of Parliament offered £400 toward the cost of an organ. In February of 1908 an order was placed with Mr George Croft, an Auckland organ builder. A special recital in July 1909 marked its commissioning. ” – by Douglas Blomfield, St Stephen’s Church organist

Recognizing its importance and value, St Stephen’s Parish is looking after their dear old fellow with great diligence, therefore they asked us to give it a much needed overhaul. So we did, exercising a tender, loving and caring approach.

Using our factory facilities in Timaru we carefully restored the double-rise reservoir and feeder bellows, and are in the process of reconstructing of the original hand pump in a new location. Working on site we have cleaned, repaired and regulated 12 ranks of pipes; cleaned, repaired and re-supported the lead pneumatic tubing to the wind-chests, fitted height adjusting blocks to the organ bench, as well as conducted some miscellaneous maintenance. We think we have done justice to this magnificent organ.

Working on this project our team has been greatly impressed with genuine care the people of St Stephen’s show towards it. The energy and enthusiasm from organist Douglas Blomfield and visiting consultant of the project Helen Lukman-Fox, an organist at St Andrew’s are infectious. Many hours and hard effort have been put into fundraising for the organ overhaul, a lot of thought put in and many discussions held. The friends of “Steve” come from all walks of life and of all ages, some are as young as 8!

We might have even found our new apprentice –
watch this space for Hazel Fox!

This is what our Client has to say:
John and the SIOC team have been a real pleasure to work with. Their knowledge, specialist skills, and passions for anything organ are enhanced greatly with their excellent work ethics. Mike Young and Lisa Oppel executed the work required and delivered our wishes (and wants!) with professionalism and much love for their crafts.

A special thanks to Mike and Lisa for generously sharing their knowledge with us and with Hazel (Helen’s 8 year old daughter). Making Hazel their little assistant has raised her own interest in organ to a deeper level. She took pride in her role and told her classmates all about the project – showing how contagious Mike’s and Lisa’s passions are. We joked that Hazel might join SIOC as an apprentice in 10 years time! 

Thank you for everything. Words alone aren’t enough to describe how much we appreciate SIOC’s work. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend SIOC to others. 

Douglas Blomfield and Helen Lukman-Fox
St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Ponsonby

From the bottom of our hearts here at SIOC – Big Thank You, St Stephen’s Ponsonby for the most enjoyable collaboration and friendships we have gained.


From https://www.ohta.org.au/confs/NZ/StStephensPonsonby
“Centrally sited at the front of the church in a distinctive three-flat case, it speaks well into the building. An additional stop was fitted in 1910, electric blowing was introduced in 1928, the console moved in 1937 and an overhaul by the South Island Organ Company Ltd, who currently maintain the instrument, took place in 2000.
(… 2020 work on the organ by SIOC still to be added – our comment)

Open Diapason8
Stopped Diapason8
Wald Flute4
Double Diapason16*
Rohr Flute8
Voix Celeste8
Swell to Great
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
2 thumb pistons to Great
2 thumb pistons to Swell
Exhaust tubular-pneumatic action
Compass: 56/30
* bass outside box
# bottom octave horizontal

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More than a Pipe Dream

This book pays homage to the highly skilled individuals in the South Island Organ Company who have dedicated so much of their lives to designing, building and restoring pipe organs, highly complex musical instruments as they are. It unveils an impressive amount of detail about this unique company's development, achievements and adventures, including secrets of the instruments construction and the art of restoration, all of which is presented in a highly readable manner so that you will never feel overwhelmed by technical jargon.

This book is the work of multi-award-winning writer Jill Worrall.

$99.99 plus postage & handling fee.

Here are some comments:

  • "Thrilled to have the book arrive today. What a gorgeous production it is and how poignant the earthquake stories and images. Thank you and I will enjoy it in greater detail as the days go by". - Tim McWhannell
  • "The book has arrived....amidst the busy day, I just had to have a quick flip through. I am absolutely gobsmacked!  What a magnificent publication -accolades all round!
    You have exceeded!  I am wordless, and speechless!
    Bravo!" - Roy Tankersley
  •  "The book arrived today! Excellent publication" - Alan Edwards
  • To John: "I enjoyed the book...indeed more than a pipe dream, that's for sure. From it I can see you've had a  remarkable and interesting career amongst some great talented craftsmen and artisans and have formed a great company in SIOC which you must be proud of. The tragedy of the losses SIOC suffered with the deaths of your men following the earthquakes is so sad and I am sure is a deep loss to you and Val personally. But what an outstanding first 50 years" - Craig Maclean & family
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