The first parts of what will be New Zealand's largest musical instrument have arrived at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The Cathedral has paid $4 million for a pipe organ to be built by Nicholson and Co. of Malvern, England and shipped to New Zealand in seven 40ft, 45 tonne crates.

The 32-foot organ with 6000 pipes is the largest cathedral organ built in England since 1926.

The first crate of parts arrived at the Cathedral this morning, along with six organ builders from England. It will take until October for the parts to be put together.

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"It's like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle," Holy Trinity Cathedral organist Philip Smith said.

"The initial idea started about six years ago, and it started being built in the UK two years ago.

"I'm probably one of the luckiest cathedral organists in the world."

The second crate will arrive in January 2017. The whole organ will be completed by the end of 2017.

"The organ will sound as fantastic accompanying one person who is singing solo as it will accompanying 1500 people," Mr Smith said.

The next generation of organ players - eight students learning the organ under Mr Smith - were just as excited, he said.

Holy Trinity priest assistant Jayson Rhodes said the container's arrival was a big step in the project.

"It's a very exciting day. Lots of people were around to see the container be opened this morning."

The organ is part of the completion and consecration of the Cathedral. Bought in 1842, the Cathedral's land was the first in New Zealand to be purchased for a cathedral.

However, it will be last to be consecrated, as a cathedral cannot be consecrated until complete.