Lilburn Residence Trust

Please Paint Me

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"Douglas' contribution to NZ music is too valuable to ignore, too important to forget." - Roger Smith & Gareth Watkins, Radio NZ

Douglas Lilburn's former home in Thorndon is now a residence for composers in the heart of Wellington. It offers accommodation to the composer holding the Jack C Richards - Creative New Zealand Composer Residency at the New Zealand School of Music.

It is a Grade 1 Historic Places Trust property - but it needs painting.

Please Paint Me

The trustees who look after it have raised about two-thirds of the funds, but need your help to get the work under way this spring.

History of the house

In 2005 Douglas Lilburn's former home in Thorndon, Wellington became New Zealand's first residence for composers. The Lilburn Residence Trust, established at the end of 2004, was formed to ensure that his house continued to be an important part of the music community in New Zealand. Through the generosity of many individuals and groups, together with a grant from New Zealand Lotteries Environment and Heritage Committee, the trust was able to purchase the house.

Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001), widely regarded as New Zealand's most distinguished composer, lived and worked in the house for more than 40 years. His influence on his contemporaries and succeeding generations of composers has been far-reaching. Through the Lilburn Trust, which was enriched by proceeds from the sale of the house, grants are given for the research and promotion of New Zealand music.

The house, built in 1952 and designed by Austrian engineer, Frederic Schwarzkopf, is one of the only remaining examples of modernist architecture in central Wellington. Early in 2006, the Historic Places Trust gave it Category 1 listing in recognition of its outstanding cultural value. Surrounded by mature and native trees, the garden, which Lilburn called his 'jungle', provides an ideal working environment for a composer.


2005-06 Dame Gillian Whitehead (Arts Foundation Laureate)
2006-07 Lyell Cresswell
2007-08 Samuel Holloway
2008-09 Helen Bowater
2009-10 John Rae
2010-11 Chris Gendall
2011-12 Juliet Palmer
2012-13 David Downes
2013-14 Jeroen Speak (and Dorothy Ker)



  • Time to Celebrate



    Dear Boosted Supporter

    Following generous donations from many of our supporters, the Lilburn Residence has been freshly painted. We would like to thank you for your help and give all our friends and donors a chance to inspect the handiwork.

    Join us for some music and a celebratory toast to the future of the residence.

    Friday 14 February, 5.30pm – 8.00pm
    22 Ascot Street

    Please RSVP to for catering purposes by 5pm, Monday 10 February.

    Kind regards,
    Les Holborow, Jack Body, Michael Norris, Diana Marsh, Scilla Askew (The Trustees)
    Jeroen Speak and Dorothy Ker (The Resident Composers)


  • Thanks, so let's paint the roof too!


    We have reached our boosted target of $3,500.00.  Thanks to all of you who have contributed so generously. This is very exciting for us and means that for just a bit more we can not only paint the house, but paint and repair the roof as well.

    The cost of all the painting, including the roof, is just over $17,000.00. The Trust has agreed to contribute up to $10,000.00 of accumulated funds. With your very generous donations through Boosted and other support, we are just over $2,500 away from being able to finish the whole job. And of course any surplus funds will go towards ongoing maintenance of the house and garden.

Other Projects by Lilburn Residence Trust