by NZ CATHOLIC staff
AKAROA — Easter is always a special time at Akaroa when the church is filled with families enjoying the delights of this seaside town. This year there was an extra reason for celebration as a new organ was installed and used for Holy Week services.
The organ was gifted by the McSweeney family. Marie McSweeney was the organist for many years and she and husband, Des, wanted to ensure wonderful music would continue in the church.

Marie McSweeney, centre, with her daughters Kathy Watson, left, and Ann Jarman.

Mrs McSweeney retired after 72 years of playing in parishes including Reefton, Balclutha, Sockburn, Riccarton and, finally, Akaroa. Because of poor health, she is now in care next to St Patrick’s, at Pompallier House. The staff there helped her in to the church to try the new organ before the pedals were installed. In spite of losing the use of her left hand after a stroke, she has played at Akaroa for 20 years.
The organ, a Yamaha, came from Barry Brinson, an accomplished Christchurch organist who demonstrated with an impromptu recital.
Fr Paul Shannahan has arranged another opportunity for people to enjoy Mr Brinson’s magic on the organ with a recital on April 28.