Notables O-R

Oakey, Alfred
Oakes, Francis Joseph
O’Hara, Ralph Hercules
Owen, Llewellyn
Paque, Guillaume
Pai Te Rangi
Parker, Robert
Phillpot, James Henry
Pinny, Frederick James
Pooley, Alfred
Purchas, Arthur Guyon
Quartly, Edgar Charles
Rangiuia, Edward (Tuahine)
Rawei, Wherahiko Francis
Ribbands, Henry Sydney Buttle
Rivers, Seaton
Robertson’s Music Stores
Rossiter, Richard Henry
Rowley, Alice May
Russell, Charles H

Oakey, Alfred

Composer, conductor, teacher, piano tuner, music retailer
Born: 1819, England
Died: 1896, Nelson
Active in New Zealand: 1864-1896

Born in England where he was pianist to the Duchess of Inverness before moving to Victoria in 1852. 

After several years performing as a pianist in Melbourne and Ballarat he came to New Zealand in 1864 and settled in Nelson where he initially worked as a piano tuner.  By 1872 he had his own pianoforte business and was offering his services as a teacher of the organ, pianoforte, harmonium, cornet and singing, and his skills as a composer and arranger.   In 1876 he bought premises in Bridge Street, and there sold a wide range of instruments, printed music and accessories.  

Alfred Oakey was active as an accompanist and was conductor of the Artillery, later Nelson Garrison, band from its formation in 1873.  After his death, his wife Emma Oakey ran the business until 1909.  Their three sons were all involved in the music trade.  Frank and Cyril were piano tuners (Cyril trained with Brinsmead and Sons in London) and Ernest was a manufacturer of reed organs. 

Other resources
Australharmony – for Alfred Oakey’s activities in Australia


Oakes, Francis Joseph (Frank)

Conductor, trumpet player, arranger, hotelier
Born: 1868, New Zealand
Died: 1949, New Zealand

While managing the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel Hotel Frank Oakes was heavily involved in the musical life of Wellington as player and conductor., including conducting the choir of St Mary of the Angels and the Returned Soldiers Union orchestra. He founded the Wellington Professional Orchestra and was also involved in brass bands.

Garland of flowers (arr). (Christchurch: McKee, 1899; Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1911)
Hymn for peace. (Unpublished, 1918)


O’Hara, Ralph Hercules

Violinist, teacher, music retailer, publisher
Born: 1880, New Zealand
Died: 1955, Whanganui

Delivery of pianos from Charles Begg & Co to their Whanganui agent, Ralph O’Hara c1914

A pupil of J. L. Beck of Whanganui, Ralph O’Hara was employed as a violinist in Pollard’s Orchestra in 1902. He established a music business, O’Hara’s Musial Warehouse in 1903 and was the agent for DIC pianos from 1903 to 1912 and then for Charles Begg & Co from 1912 to 1920. In 1920 he sold his entire stock to the Bristol Piano Company who were setting up a Whanganui branch.


Owen, Llewellyn

Teacher, composer, conductor, performer
Born: 1871, London
Died: 1950, Dunedin
Active in New Zealand: 1890-1950

Llewellyn Owen came to Christchurch with his family in 1879. In 1890 he moved to Ashburton where he was a school teacher initially, before devoting himself to music for a number of years in what was to be his most productive period musically. At various times he was conductor of the Ashburton Musical Society, the Ashburton Musical Union, the Ashburton Liederkranz, the Methodist Wesleyan Choral Society, the Ashburton Brass Band and the Ashburton County Band. He also had his own Estudiantina Band and during the First World War trained the Ashburton Patriotic Troubadours. In 1901 his music was performed in front of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall on their visit to New Zealand.

In 1917 he left Ashburton and returned to teaching, moving firstly to Christchurch, then Lumsden and finally Dunedin.

Ring, Ring the Bells (Christmas carol). (Unpublished, 1893 )
The Royal Cambrian. Barn Dance for the Pianoforte. ( London : Robert Cocks & Co, 1896)
The Skirt Dance for the Pianoforte. (London : Robert  Cocks & Co, 1897)
Euterpe : waltz for the pianoforte. (London : Robert Cocks & Co, 1900)
Owen’s March. (London : Robert Cocks & Co, 1901)
Thalia Waltz. (Dunedin : Charles Begg & Co, 1902)
Ashburton High School Song. (Unpublished. 1909)

Other resources
Bean, Margaret. A Passionate Affair: Llewellyn Owen & Music. (Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2015.)

Photo Source: Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Canterbury, 1903.


Pai, Te Rangi – see Howie, Fanny Rose


Paque, Guillaume Auguste Mortimer

Cellist, music teacher, conductor, composer
Born: 1867, England
Died: 1942, Auckland
Active in New Zealand: 1886-1942

Originally from Belgium, Paque’s family had settled in London where his uncle became a cellist in a number of leading orchestras and his father a trumpeter in the royal court. Guillaume received his musical education at the London Academy of Music where he was awarded a number of medals. Aged 21 he moved to Auckland where he was to establish himself as a cello teacher and performer. He taught at W. H. Webbe’s Auckland School of Music, Ladies College Remuera, and Prince Albert College, as well as giving private lessons in cello, piano, singing and harmony. He deputised as conductor for the Auckland Choral Society and also conducted a number of ad hoc orchestral groups, and was for a period organist at St Barnabas’ Church, Mt Eden.

Paque regularly performed not only at the concerts associated with the School of Music, but as a soloist or member of a chamber ensemble at a number of concerts, regularly featuring cello works by his uncle. A small number of his compositions were published, with newspaper reports also mentioning his adding cello obbligato to a number of other pieces.

Cello part to Webbe’s song Madoleine. (Auckland:Webbe, 1886).
Gavotte Joyeuse . Supplement to The Triad, 1 January, 1897
Favourite” and “Tarantelle” for cello. Unpublished.  Performed June 1889.
Antipodes Overture for orchestra. Unpublished. Performed September, 1889,
[Song for Madame Belle Cole]. Unpublished. (1894)
Under the Southern Cross: gavotte. (Auckland: Eady, 1895)
The Skylark: part song. Written for the Auckland Liedertafel Choir. Unpublished. 1895
Now the lusty spring is seen. Supplement to the New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal, 29 February, 1896.
Gavotte Joyeuse for cello and piano.   (Auckland: A. Eady, 1910).

Photo source:
Paque family descendents.


Parker, Robert

Conductor, teacher, organist, composer
Born: 1847, London
Died: 1937, Wellington
Active in New Zealand: 1869-1937

Although Parker’s earliest years were spent in Christchurch, it is music in Wellington that he is most associated with. Organist at St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral for almost 60 years, he was soon appointed as Director of the Wellington Orchestral Society, initiating a series of music festivals. He was also conductor of the Wellington Choral Society and Wellington Liedertafel. He was also involved in teacher education, was an examiner for the University of New Zealand, and for several years was the president of the New Zealand Society of Professional Music Teachers. Most of his compositions were of service music, with one carol, Like silver lamps in a distant shine still in the collection of the St Paul’s Cathedral choir.  He was awarded a CMG for his services to music in 1930.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District, p. 444.
Thomson, J. M. Biographical dictionary of New Zealand Composers (Wellington: Victoria University, 1990)
Parker, R. Papers, 1863–1935. MS Papers 211. Alexander Turnbull Library


Phillpot, James Henry

Music teacher, organist and choirmaster, composer, flutist
Born: 1861, Abervale, Wales
Died: 1937, Auckland
Active in New Zealand: 1884-1937

James Phillpot arrived in New Zealand on the Coptic in 1884. Despite already having started on a musical career as organist at the Methodist church in Stockton on Tees, Phillpot took advantage of the tuition available to him at the Auckland University College and was awarded the Junior and Senior Onslow medals for the top non-matriculated student.

In addition to establishing his place as a music teacher in Auckland, Phillpot had two particularly signifcant appointments as organist and choirmaster, firstly at St Paul’s Church and secondly at St Matthews Church where he was to serve from 1905 until the early 1930s. HIs Easter cantata, The Ascension, was performed complete or as extracts almost every year during this period.

Phillpot composed a significant number of works, 20 of which were published and more than twice that number remained unpublished but had performances noted in the newspaper. Other than sacred works for his church choir, his works included topical piano works and songs. He was active in the masonic movement and wrote for a number of Auckland groups such as the Old Colonists Choral Society.

Phillpot is also generally agreed to be the composer who using the pseudonym Hemi Piripata, arranged a number of Maori songs which were successfully published by Eady and then Beggs. Definitive evidence of this still being sought.

Published compositions:
Fair Ireland. (Auckland: Star Office, 1885)
Birthday Ode to Sir George Grey. (1886)
Zealandia’s victory. (1888)
Sons of the Empire. (London: Keith Prowse, 1899)
In memorium. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1901)
New Zealand’s sons. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1902)
Abide with me. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1903)
God defend New Zealand. (Auckland: Wilson and Horton, 1904)
Sons of liberty. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1908)
O Lord, we beseech thee. (London: Wickins, 1909)
Almighty and everlasting God. (London: Wickins, 1909)
O Lord who knowest. (London: Wickins, 1909)
Light of the Gospel. (London: Wickins, 1909)
Vesper bells. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1912?)
Waken lords and ladies gay. Hunting song. (Auckland: 1914?)
Lionheart. (Auckland: Wilson and Horton, 1917)
Song of thanksgiving on the occasion of the recovery of His Majesty King George V. (Auckland: 1929?)
10 little Maori songs. (Auckland: A. Eady, 1929)

Photo source:

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections NZG-19050318-35-5
From the New Zealand Graphic, 18 March 1905, p35


Pinny, Frederick James

Musical instrument importer, music retailer, builder
Born: c1857, Motueka
Died: 1933, Wellington
Active in New Zealand: 1886-1933

Worked as a builder until 1886 when he set up business in Manners Street, Wellington as an importer of pianos, organs and other musical instruments. The business later moved to Cuba Street and then Willis Street. In 1913 a branch was opened in Nelson but this closed in 1915. The business operated until Pinny’s death.


Pooley, Alfred

Organist, music teacher, conductor, concert organizer, pianist, bandmaster, composer
Born: 1849?, England
Died: 1896, Sydney
Active in New Zealand: 1883-1890

Alfred Pooley appears to have moved to New Zealand with the intentions of starting a new life. Formerly a Wine and Spirits distributor, he had also been an organist at St Peter’s Cathedral in Liverpool. After his arrival in Auckland on the “Kentish Lass” in 1883 he set up as a music teacher, organist, concert organiser and conductor. One of his innovations was a series of marine concerts, where the ship “Takapuna” moored in a quiet part of the Waitemata Harbour and a short concert held before its return to the main wharf. His two New Zealand published works were dedicated to leading figures in Auckland but unfortunately his arrival in Auckland coincided with a significant economic downturn. He relocated to Sydney, where he was appointed organist at St Matthew’s Church, Manly.

Cairn’s March. (Auckland: Star Steam Litho, 1886)
Kawau March. (Auckland, 1886)


Purchas, Arthur Guyon

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-JDR5

Anglican vicar, doctor, architect, engineer, inventor, scientist and musician
Born: 1821, Wales
Died: 1906, Auckland
Active in New Zealand: 1847-1906

Arthur Purchas was one of the most influential figures in the establishment of the settlement of Auckland and surrounding areas. Amongst his many other activities and responsibilities he was Musical Director for the New Zealand Anglican Dioceses, responsible for the development of the New Zealand Hymnal, and taught music at St John’ College. A number of his hymns were  published in the New Zealand Hymnal as well as the Church Gazette.

Publications and compositions
Tunes for different metres. (Auckland: St John’s College, 1848)
New Zealand Hymnal tunebook. (Auckland: Wayte & Batger, 1866)
A child’s morning prayer. (Auckland: Church Gazette, 1889)
Hurrah for our bonnie island home. (Auckland: Eady, 1894)

‘Purchas, Arthur Guyon’, Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 22-Apr-09
New Zealand Memories 84 (June/July 2010), pp. 4-8,
Steele, John. No ordinary man: the extraordinary life and times of Dr Arthur Purchas. (Auckland: David Ling, 2019)


Quartly, Edgar Charles

National Library of New Zealand

Singer, music retailer, conductor, teacher of elocution
Active in New Zealand: c1906-c1911

Edgar Quartly (often spelt Quartley) was a teacher of elocution, a singer and had his own orchestra in Blenheim. He came to New Zealand from Adelaide c1906. In 1907 he took over the music retail business of Mr Parker and in December 1908 became the agent for the DIC, selling pianos on their behalf. It is highly probable that the next year he became agent for Begg’s as they brought a bankruptcy case against him in 1910 and subsequently advertised the business for sale. He left Blenheim at this time and returned to Adelaide.

While in Blenheim Quartly published Quartly’s First Musical Album (c1910) which contains several pieces by Antonio Vannini, who was a local music teacher.


Rangiuia, Edward (Tuahina)

Tenor and music teacher
Ngati Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti
Born: 1886
Died: 1918, London

Rangiuia centre front

Photograph of a touring musical group. Ref: PAColl-4777-2.
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/42037752

Edward Rangiuia (also known as Chieftain Rangiuia) went to school at Te Aute College and was cousin of Sir Apirana Ngata. He was established as a music teacher in Gisborne but after performing for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall during their 1901 and 1903 tours he was encouraged to take his singing career further. He moved to London and toured successfully with Fanny Howie (Princess Te Rangi Pai) and was one of the performers at the New Zealand concert in the Festival of Empire 1911.

McLean, Mervyn. Maori Music. (Auckland: Auckland University Press 1996)
National Library of New Zealand. Pukana exhibition.


Rawei, Wherahiko Francis

Entertainer, evangelist, composer
Born: 187?, Whanganui area
Died: 1928, Avarua, Cook Islands

Wherahiko Rawei’s early life is somewhat obsure, with various version as to where and when he was born and his parentage. He was active as a Salvation Army evangelist in New Zealand during the 1890s, and continued both his evangelical message and presenting stories of his Maori heritage in Australia and the United Kingdom. From 1903 his career moved to mainland USA, lecturing and performing as part of the Chautauqua and Lyceum circuits.

Songs: sung by Rawei, the New Zealand native evangelist.
“I heard of a saviour’s love”. In: The Endeavour Hymnal for young people’s societies, Sunday schools and church prayer meetings. (1901)
Death of Piwa. (Tasmania: Zeehan, 1912).

Other resources
Brawley, S. and Dixon, C. The South Seas: a reception history from Daniel Defoe to Dorothy Lamour. (Lexington Books, 2015)
Roberts, E. “The perpatetic career of Wherahiko Rawei”. In: The cosmopolitan Lyceum. (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), pp. 203-220.

Photo credit
Lyceum News (May 1912), p. 10


Ribbands, Henry Sydney Buttle (Harry)

Diving instructor, insurance salesman, lyricist, poet, music retailer
Born: 1874, Isle of Wight, England
Died: 1946, New Zealand
Active in New Zealand: 1906-1946

Immigrated to New Zealand in 1906 and settled in Hastings where he collaborated with A R Don on several songs and a comic opera, Marama or The Mere and the Maori Maid. A rifleman with the 22nd Reinforcements during the First World War he also wrote the lyrics for The Land of the Long White Cloud (music by Sergeant Charles Lawrence James) which became the ‘official march of the New Zealand Division’.

In 1919 on his return to New Zealand he opened a music, book and stationery shop in Hastings,

Our Territorials: a chorus march song. (Wellington: Charles Begg & Co, 1914)
We shall get there in time. (Hastings: Don’s Piano and Music Warehouse, 1915)
Strike up that band. (Hastings: Anzac Music Publishing Co, 1915)
The land of the long white cloud. (Wellington: Charles Begg & Co, 1917)
Come canoeing down the Wanganui. (Hastings: Ribbands & Don, 1920)
The Renown: a Maori medley waltz. (Wellington: Don’s Music House, c1927)
Marama: comedy opera. (Hastings: Hastings Amateur Dramatic Society, nd)

Other resources
Good-bye Maoriland: the songs & sounds of New Zealand’s Great War. (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017) pp. 152-153


Rivers, Seaton

Active in New Zealand: 1904-1908

Probably a pseudonym, Seaton Rivers published six works over a short period.

Willows. (Dunedin and London: Charles Begg & Co, 1904)
The red carnation. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1907)
Intermezzo in A. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1908)
Nocturne in E flat. (London: Charles Begg & Co, 1908)
Only Pretence. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1908)
White Lilac. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1908)


Robertson’s Music Stores

Music retailer, publisher
Location: Auckland
Established: 1899
Ceased business: 1934

Auckland Star, 7 March 1899

Started by Alfred William Robertson who was born at Bendigo in 1857 and came to Auckland in 1899 where he founded Robertson’s Music Stores in Queen Street. The business went bankrupt in 1934. After closure his younger son, Jack (Robbie) Robertson worked for Begg’s and at one time managed their Auckland branch.

Robertson’s were a publisher of New Zealand music and the copyright for its publications was purchased by Arthur Eady Ltd. Included in these were Haere Ra or Now is the Hour.


Rossiter, Richard Henry (Harry)

Composer, music retailer, band leader
Born: 1871, Lyttleton
Died: 1936, Christchurch

After studying music by local teachers including Henry Towle, Arthur Towsey and Arthur Barth, Rossiter started composing works for performance at an early age. One of his most successful works, the Onslow waltz, was written when he was only twenty. Three editions were published, and it was performed both on piano and by dance band. A number of songs, dance and church pieces followed, published by a variety of New Zealand and overseas music publishers.

Rossiter appears to have written little after 1910. He was employed at Milner and Thompson’s in Christchurch and later was the piano manager at Begg’s. He continued his musical activities through conducting various bands and at various concerts, along with his involvement in parish music.

Onslow waltz. (Dunedin: Dresden, 1890) – also 1900 (London: Reynolds) edition
Barn dance. (London: Wickins, 1892)
Only you. (1894)
Our cycling song. (Christchurch: 1896)
The village coquette. (1896)
England is mistress still. (Christchurch: Lyttleton Times, 1900?)
O salutaris hostia. (London: Frederick Harris, 1905)
Zealandia. (Christchurch: Milner and Thompson, 1905)
One summer’s night. (Adelaide: Cawthorne, 1906)
Poppies. (London: Reynolds, 1906)
Vanora. (London: Reynolds, 1906)
Waves of the rolling deep. (Adelaide: Cawthorne, 1906)
In the meadows. (Adelaide: Cawthorne, 1906)

Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Canterbury Provincial District, p. 232. (Photo source)
Nichol, E. “Dedicated to the colonial music-loving public”.


Rowley, Alice May (later McLean, Forrester, Mackay)

Music teacher, pianist, composer
Born: Christchurch, 1870
Died: Christchurch, 1940

Alice Rowley ‘s talent as a musician was evident while still a pupil at Christchurch Girls High School and she went on to become the first woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Music from the University of New Zealand.

In addition to raising a family, frequent accompanying at concerts and delivering lectures on a range of musical topics, Rowley continued to compose throughout her life. While several of her songs were published there remains also a wealth of unpublished songs, several of which received public performances.

Published compositions:
Hinemoa: morceau pour piano. (London: Wickins, 1889)
Nydia. (London: London Music Publishing, 1889?)
One hundred years ago. (London: Wickins, 1890?)
The oId flag. (Christchurch: Lyttleton Times, 1900)
Christmas carol. (Ashburton: 1911)
Homeward bound. (London: Frederick Harris, 1913)
Lullaby. (London: Frederick Harris, 1913)
One flag, one throne. (London: Frederick Harris, 1913)
Song of the rose. (London: Frederick Harris, 1913)
Cradle song. In: The Countess of Liverpool Giftbook, 1916.
Love eternal. (Sydney?: 1916)
Walkin’ down the roadway. (London: Arthur H. Stockwell, 1940)

Alexander Turnbull Library. Marches, polkas, waltzes; list of published works and appreciation of Alice Forrester Mackay. MS-Papers-0440-1
May, Judith. “Alice Mackay Mus. Bac.” Music in New Zealand, 1994, p. 35-37.
New Zealand Freelance. 13 Oct 1937, p. 12.
“Obituary. Mrs W. O. Mackay.” Press, 24 July 1940, p. 2

Photo source:
Cyclopdedia of New Zealand : Christchurch Provincial District, p. 821.


Russell, Charles H

Organist and pianist, teacher, music retailer, composer
Born: Probably USA
Died: 1879, Melbourne
Active in New Zealand: 1864-1878

Organist in the Catholic Church of Los Angeles before coming to New Zealand c1864 where he established himself as a Professor of the Pianoforte in Wellington. In 1865 he opened a music warehouse which was destroyed by fire in 1869. He moved to Dunedin in 1870, where he resumed teaching, before leaving for Melbourne in 1878.

Farewell to the Emigrant. (unpublished, 1864)
Loving eyes are on me beaming. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1876)
Fern leaves. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1876)
Silvery spray. (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1876)
When will ye think of me? (Dunedin: Charles Begg & Co, 1877)