About the Lilburn Residence



The former home of composer Douglas Lilburn (ONZ) in Thorndon, Wellington has for more than 10 years been offered as a residence for New Zealand composers. The property is administered by the Lilburn Residence Trust, who ensure that the property is used in a manner befitting the legacy of New Zealand's most important composer of the 20th century.

The Trust normally offers use of the house to the composer holding the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM). If that composer does not require the house, then the Trust calls for applications from other New Zealand composers. Each composer lives in the house, paying a modest rent, for up to a year.

Upcoming events and latest news

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Boosted campaign to help with the cost of renovating  the bathroom at the residence –  Let's liven up Lilburn's loo and beautify the bathroom. The work gets under way in early July and there's still time to support us if you'd like to.




Current resident

Rob Thorne, composer in residence 2017-2018 Our current composer-in-residence, who will live in the house from July 2017 to June 2018, is Palmerston North-based composer, performer, educator and ethnomusicologist Rob Thorne.

Rob is an expert in the performance of taonga puoro, the traditional instruments of Māori culture, and combines his performance with original composition by using recording and mixing technology.

His work since 2001 with taonga puoro has seen him recently complete a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology and in 2014 he published the album Whaia te Maramatanga with Rattle Records, a solo album of original taonga pūoro compositions.

Rob says, 'One of the most exciting things for me will be living in the house that Douglas Lilburn lived and worked in. I’m a believer in the transformational and creative power of space and geography, so I am eager to listen to and learn from what those walls have to offer. My biggest challenges as a composer are space and time, and these two factors are the predominant resources given by the residency. I am very eager to begin: to be in the house, to soak in the history and listen, and to work, and work, and work.'

Find out more about other composers who have lived and worked at the Lilburn Residence.