Life of Father of NZ Choral Music honoured

At St Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington on 12 November 2017, family, friends and choristers from near and far who revered Peter D Godfrey CBE (fondly known as PDG) and whose musical lives were inspired by this great man, gathered to honour his life (born UK 1922, died Waikanae NZ 29 Sep 2017). He was rightly known as the Father of NZ Choral Music. Read the tributes of three of the tens of thousands of musicians he inspired.

Firstly from Peter Averi of Wellington (to whom thanks are due for permission to reproduce his address, together with the provision of the text of tributes from two selected musicians whom Peter Godfrey sponsored). Peter Averi often served as Cathedral organist at St Paul’s with Director of Music Peter Godfrey as well as in many fields where the two collaborated.

Peter Averi’s address honouring Peter Godfrey


Katherine Dienes-Williams began her choral, composing and conducting career in Peter Godfrey’s St Paul’s Cathedral (Wellington) choir. She now resides as a leading Cathedral Director of Music (Guilford Cathedral) in the UK and was recently awarded the honour of Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music. Read her tribute.

Dienes tribute to PDG

One time Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, Philip Walsh, who as a very young man succeeded PDG upon his retirement, recalls the tremendous support he was given. Walsh tribute to PDG (edited)

Other leading figures from the choral and related worlds remembered their association with PDG, including John Rosser, as Chair of NZCF Governance Board who was in various Auckland choirs taken by Peter Godfrey and the original National Youth Choir. Simon Bowden spoke on behalf of the Arts Foundation as Peter has been an Icon since 2005.

Photographs of Peter Godfrey, Peter Averi, Katherine Dienes-Williams and Philip Walsh are from RSCMNZ archival resources and the following pictures (courtesy Jay Berryman) taken during the memorial service show firstly St Paul’s Cathedral Choir (Michael Stewart conducting),

next the Waikanae Parish Choir,

and finally the Massed Choir at the 12 November Service.