Notables M-N

Macfarlane, James Chicago
Mackay, Alice
Manning, John Katterns
Mansfield, Ernest
Marten, William Benjamin
May, James Thompson
McGlashan, John
McKenna, James
McLean, Alice
Medley, Adela Mary Constance
Milner, John Joseph
Morison, Jane
Morley, Carmini
Morris, Wilhelm
Murray-Gibbs, Cuthbert
Neill, Maria
Neuzerling, William
Noall, Alexis Ashcroft
Norberg, Andrew John

Macfarlane, James Chicago

Surveyor and civil engineer, composer
Born: 1859, Chicago, U. S. A.
Died: 1945, Hokitika
Active in New Zealand: 1864-1945

Macfarlane’s father, Duncan Macfarlane, was a Scotsman who followed the gold trails to the U.S.A. and Australia before settling in New Zealand in 1864. James Macfarlane also lived in Hokitika on the West Coast of the South Island and outside his professional work as a surveyor was a keen sportsman. He published one piano piece but does not appear to have been particularly involved with music-making in Hokitika.

Ida waltz. (Greymouth: West Coast Times, 1884)

Other resources
Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Nelson, Marlborough and Westland provincial districts. 1906. p. 509. (photo source)


Mackay, Alice – see Rowley, Alice


Manning, John Katterns

Wanganui Chronicle 1888

Teacher, organist and choirmaster, composer
Born: 1854
Died: Whanganui, 1909
Active in New Zealand:

A teacher at Wanganui Collegiate for some years from 1885, J. Katterns Manning was organist at Christ Church and also St Paul’s , Whanganui. He was for a time conductor of the Wanganui Liedertafel and two of his songs were published. His musical setting of a Jubilee Ode written for the Wanganui Jubilee Exhibition was particularly harshly reviewed by one reviewer in the local paper.

All hail to Britannia’s greatest queen. (Whanganui: Willis, 1887)
Jubilee Ode. (Unpublished, 1887)
Colonial patriots. (Whanganui: Willis, 1900)


Mansfield, Ernest

Otago Witness 22 Sept 1892

Mining prospector, journalist, banjo player, composer
Born: 1862, London, Great Britain
Died: 1924, England
Active in New Zealand: 1878 – 1897

Ernest Mansfield’s one published song praises the benefits of the newly popular activity of cycling. He was a journalist for the Wanganui Chronicle and gave banjo lessons. He left Whanganui to pursue various mining expeditions including some in the far north of Norway.

The wheel’s the life for me. (1892)

Barr, Susan. Gold – or I’m a Dutchamn! Ernest Mansfield 1861-1924. (Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2012)


Marten, William Benjamin

Methodist minister, composer
Born: 1847, Sussex, England
Died: 1907, Petone
Active in New Zealand: 186-? -1907

Marten ministered in a number of locations, mostly in the South Island. He had a long- standing interest in music and gave lectures in Timaru on Church music (1889) and the Weslyan Service of Song. A concert at the Petone Weslyan Church in December 1900 consisted of 16 works written by Marten. His anthem On wings of faith was written in the 1890s but not published until after his death.

On wings of faith. (London: Music Journal Office, 1912?)

Alexander Turnbull Library. fMS-Papers-6123
Bassett, E. 1872-1972 A record of 100 years of Methodist witness in the township and district of Wakefield. (photo source).


May, James Thompson

Organist, teacher, composer
Born: c1803, Belfast, Ireland
Died: 1886, 5 November, Napier
Active in New Zealand: 1865-1886

James T. May was a pupil of Kalkbreuner and Moschelles and the organist at St Anne’s Church, Belfast from 1848. In 1862 he left for Australia where he went to Melbourne and then Bendigo.  He first advertised as a teacher (professor of music) in Dunedin in 1865.  While in Dunedin he had several compositions published, both in New Zealand and in London.  In 1872 he moved to Napier where he continued to teach. 

Tui’s Song. (1870)
Otago Polka. (Dunedin: Begg & Co; London: Cocks & Co, 1870)
Forty Wines. (1872, unpublished)
The World is My Home. ( England: 1872)
I’ll Think on Thee. (England: 1872)
The Southern Cross (Dunedin: Begg & Co; London: Cocks & Co,1872)
Ianthe. (London: Cocks & Co, 1872)
The Mountain Stream Caprice. (Dunedin: C. Begg & Co; London: Weekes & Co, 1881)
Les Brilliantes. (Dunedin: C. Begg & Co, London: Weekes & Co,1882)
Serenata for the Pianoforte. (London: Weekes & Co, 1882)
Zealandia (Maori Land). (Dunedin: C. Begg & Co; London: Weekes & Co, 1882)


McGlashan, John

Violinist, music teacher, band leader and conductor, composer
Born: 1847 (?), Elgin, Scotland
Died: 1917, Wellington
Active in New Zealand: 1885-1917

Pseudonyms used
Frank Leward

John McGlashan was prominant in establishing Caledonian concerts in Wellington and his compositions and poetry had strong Scottish themes. He led his own band, and also at times conducted the Scottish Society orchestra, the Wellington Masonic orchestra and the Wellington Working Men’s Club and Literary Institute orchestra.

New Zealand anthem: Onward! New Zealand . (Wellington: Bock and Cousins, 1887)
Ken ye the glen. (London: Joseph Williams, 1888)
At the wheel. (As Frank Leward). (London: Beale, 1896)
The banner of Scotland. (?, 1898)
The lad that comes at e’en. (Wellington: McKee, 1898)

Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District, p. 443 (photo source)


McKenna, James

Coal miner, composer
Born: 1846?
Died: 1911, Runanga, West Coast

Little is known of coal miner James McKenna and his musical interests. Success to the men of the coast was described as the first song to be written, composed and lithographed on the West Coast (West Coast Times, 31 December 1885, p2).

Put on the break. (Melbourne?, 1884)
Success to the men of the coast. (?, 1885)


McLean, Alice – see Rowley, Alice


Medley, Adela Mary Constance (later took the name Adela Spencer Medley)

Musician, concert pianist, teacher, composer, artist, conductor
Born: 1864, 8 September, Parnell, Auckland
Died: 1934, 3 October, Wellington

In 1865 with her parents, she went to England where her father was posted to Portsmouth.

The family returned to New Zealand in 1883/4 and settled firstly at Whanganui, then Wellington.

After her father died in January 1893 she devoted herself to the teaching of music, making several trips back to London. She was also involved with music teaching at Wellington Girls College.  A pianist,she held the Certificate of the Royal Academy of Music, with Honours. She accompanied Alfred Hill at series of Musicales and chamber music concerts – Hill dedicated his Slumber Music to her.  Soloist in the Mendelsohn Piano Concerto with the Wellington Orchestral Society in 1895.

A number of her sketches are held in the National Library of NZ, and she exhibited a set of hand-painted screen bellows at the NZ Industrial Exhibition in Wellington 1885.

Coo-ee.   (Unpublished, 1897)
The Bumble Bee’s Buzz. Junior Unison Song. (London: Novello’s School Songs. No. 637 [b]1900)
My Dove. Junior Unison Song. Words by H Didsbury.  (1900,  Novello’s School Songs No 634)
Poor Humpty Dumpty. Junior Unison Song. (1900, Novello’s School Songs. No. 637 [a])
Swinging: Junior Unison Song (1900, School Music Review No101)
Woodland Melodies. Junior Unison Song. (1900, Novello’s School Songs. [Book 110] No. 581)
Cradle Song. (London: Novello, 1903)
Through the Day. Hymn by T Kelly, etc. (London and New York : Boosey & Co, 1908)
Twilight’s Hour. Song. With violin accompaniment. (London and New York : Boosey & Co, 1908)
Battle Song of the Unionists. (London: Novello and Co, [1911])
English Posies. (Unpublished, 1920)
Land of my Heart. (Unpublished, 1931)
My Kite. (Unpublished, 1932)

Photo credit
MISS ADELA MEDLEY, an old resident of Wellington, who died suddenly on Wednesday at her home on Upland Road, Kelburn. (Evening Post, 05 October 1934). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/19134567


Milner, John Joseph

Organist, music retailer, composer
Born: 1844, Brixton, England
Died: 1904, Christchurch
Active in New Zealand: ? – 1904

Milner & Thompson’s Ashburton branch, Otley Collection, Ashburton 04.1994.0213kkk

John Milner was organist at Holy Trinity Church, Avonside, Christchurch and from the late 1860s worked for John Lewis at the Canterbury Music Depot, which he later managed. In 1874 he and Robert Thompson went into partnership and purchased the business which then became Milner & Thompson. The partnership only lasted five years although it remained Milner & Thompson after John Milner was no longer associated with it.

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. (London, publisher unknown, 1890)


Morison, Jane

Piano, harmonium and singing teacher, kindergarten teacher
Born: 1855, Elgin, Scotland
Died: 1939, Masterton
Active in New Zealand: 1870 – 1939

Jane Morison was a music teacher in Masterson and Hastings, and her family farmed at nearby Manaia. Morison’s first published compositions were two piano works published in the 1890s. With the advent of World War One she produced a number of patriotic songs which were published. Her interest in Maori music and the development of New Zealand music was expressed in the short paper to the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Society in November 1892 titled ‘National Melodies’, later published in the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Maori-land valse. (Brighton: Chester, 1887)
Maori haka rondoletto. (Whanganui: Willis, 1896)
The Wellington Washington Post Dance. (Wellington: McKee, 1898)
Four little stars in blue. (Wellington: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1916)
We’ll never forget our boys. (Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1917)
Spinning. (Wellington: Ferguson and Osborn, 1918)
Two green isles (our Dominion).  (Wellington: Ferguson & Osborn, [192-?)

Four little stars in blue. Recording (2016) available on  YouTube:

Turner, P. “New Zealand Music during the First World War: the Songs of Miss Jane Morison” Journal of New Zealand Literature, No. 33, Part 2: New Zealand and the First World War (2015), pp. 72-88


Morley, Carmini (William Robert Morley)

Singer, teacher, composer
Born: 1838, Portugal
Died: 1900, Australia
Active in New Zealand: 1876-c1890

Carmini Morley, who styled himself as Signor, was born in Portugal to British parents. He arrived in Dunedin in 1876 with the Simonsen Opera Company. In Dunedin he ran operatic classes and was a leading singing teacher. His opera The Two Brides premiered at the Princess Theatre in June 1876 and was concerned with the deceitful actions of an amorous Italian nobleman and his eventual comeuppance. In 1886 he left Dunedin for Australia.

O love of mine. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1879)


Morris, Wilhelm

Doctor, violinist, pianist, composer
Born: 1861, Poland
Died: 1916, New Zealand
Active in New Zealand: c1889-1916

Wilhelm Morris trained as a doctor in Bavaria before coming to New Zealand c1889 where he was registered in 1889 and naturalised in 1892. He worked in Ashburton and Auckland. In 1916 he committed suicide.

Liedertafel march. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1897)


Murray-Gibbes, Cuthbert

Baritone singer, composer, music teacher
Born: 1887, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 1931, Lithgow, Australia
Active in New Zealand: 1909

C. Murray-Gibbes’ connections to New Zealand were through his father who had been a doctor in the Hawkes Bay, and through his own touring of New Zealand as part of the J. C. Williamson’s Opera Company. Trained in France and Great Britain, he performed for a number of years alongside his music teaching.

He composed a number of songs, one of which, A red rosebud, was written and first published in New Zealand and went on to have multiple editions produced in Australia and England. It was also arranged as a piano solo. He died as the result of a car accident near Lithgow, New South Wales.

A red rosebud. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1910)
Six songs of sentiment. (Sydney: Paling, 1912)
Sad eyes. (Melbourne: Allan, 1916)
Can you forget. (Sydney: Paling, 191-?)
A rose in your hair. (Sydney: Paling, 191?)
So long ago. (Sydney: Paling, 191-?)
That grey-headed mother of mine. (Sydney: Paling, 191-?
Just memories. (Sydney: Paling, 1917)
No man’s land. (Sydney: Drain’s Music Depot, 1917)
Rose of memory. (Sydney: Paling, 192-?)

A red rosebud, and, That grey headed mother of mine. C. Murray-Gibbes with instrumental accompaniment. COL 01269. 78 rpm (Nga Taonga Sound & Vision Ref: 28380)


Neill, Maria (nee Monteith)Mrs G. J. Neill

Music teacher, composer
Born: 1844. Wellington
Died: 1918.

Maria Monteith was raised and educated in Wellington and was the daughter of Wellington’s provincial surgeon. Her marriage to Captain George James Neill was violent and she successfully sued for divorce in 1883. She lived in Wellington and Napier and made her livelihood by teaching and holding a number of concerts. She remarried and continued to teach.

Our mazurka. (Wellington: Burrett, 1873)
My spirit king. (Wellington: Burrett, 1880)

Bishop, C. Women means business. (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2019). pp. 66-67


Neuzerling, William

Band master
Born: 1820, Germany
Died: after 1872, England?
Active in New Zealand: 1864-1866

William Neuzerling came from a family with a tradition of service as army band masters. He joined the British Army 68th Regimental band as a bugler in 1851 and was their Band master in New Zealand during 1864-1866. He left with the regiment in 1866 and was discharged from the army in 1872.

Light Brigade. (Auckland: Varty, 1864)


Noall, Alexis Ashcroft

Pianist, music teacher
Born: 1867?, Melbourne, Australia
Died: 1907, Auckland
Active in New Zealand: 1896 – 1907

Lex Ashcroft Noall studied in Melbourne under Louis Pabst, formerly of the Conservatorium in Riga. He was a music teacher in Napier from 1896 and later in Palmerston North. He died of pneumonia soon after moving to Auckland.

If love and I ne’er meet. (Napier, 1906)


Norberg, Andrew John

National Library of NZ

Violinist, pianist, music teacher, piano tuner, conductor
Born: 1834?, Sweden
Died: 1904, Wellington
Active in New Zealand: 1866-1904

Migrating to New Zealand via Ballarat in Australia (where he arrived in 1859), Norberg resided in Hokitika, Blenheim, Marton, Palmerston North and Wellington. Herr Norberg reportedly studied atthe Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm and performed on the violin in a number of solo and orchestral concerts. His one published composition was dedicated to Mrs Arckwright, the wife of the owner of the house Overton, which is now a Category 1 Historic Place. Norberg was naturalised in 1901.

Overton waltz. (Palmerston North, Park, 1888)