The Mighty Wurli (2/10 Wurlitzer Model H Opus 1482) is a theatre organ consisting of an organ console that dramatically rises from beneath the stage. The organ is connected to hundreds of pipes, a piano keyboard, a xylophone, castanets, bells and drums. There are only four Wurlitzer / Wurlitzer based Organs in New Zealand and ours is in such an amazing state in its original condition.
1926 - The US-built organ was shipped from the United States for installation in the De Luxe Theatre in Wellington.
1927 - The Mighty Wurli made its debut with Sydney organist Emanual “Manny” Aarons it quickly became a beloved feature of the theatre.
1959 - The Wurlitzer was sold to Eddie Aikin a theatre organ enthusiast who installed the instrument in a former honey-packing shed south of Tokoroa, it was later moved to the school hall of Tokoroa High School. Ill health forced Mr Aikin and his organisation to sell the Mighty Wurli by tender. It was sold to the Tauranga Twenty Thousand Club and then gifted to the people of Tauranga.
1972 - With the support of the Tauranga City Council, the society installed the instrument in the Tauranga Town Hall. The Mighty Wurli was once again featured as a concert instrument for many local and overseas artists.
1986 - It was announced that Tauranga Town Hall was to be demolished. The Wurli needed a new home. The Tauranga City Council suggested that the organ could be relocated in the newly-constructed Baycourt Community and Arts Centre.
1987 - The arduous task of dismantling and re-installing the instrument began, and by late 1988, Opus 1482 was playing once again.
1988 - Dennis James travelled from the United States to present the premier concert of the instrument in Baycourt in December.
The Theatre Organ Society
The Tauranga Theatre Organ Society helps finance the maintenance and restoration of the organ. With the organ now sounding possibly its best ever it is proving a worthy asset, both to Baycourt and Tauranga.
If you would like to join the Tauranga Theatre Society, please fill in the application form (4mb pdf). Annual subscriptions are $20 per single or $25 per couple, please post cheques to:
33 Hollyoake Terace
Membership entitles you to reduced organ concert tickets, newsletters, and monthly meetings where you can hear the Wurlitzer.