The purpose of Play It Strange

Play It Strange exists to shine the spotlight into schools and bring into the light the great songs written there. 

There are:
- Songwriting competitions from where those judged as finalists get to record their songs in professional studios.
- Other song-based programmes and informative avenues

Mike's Message

Mike Chunn CEO's message

If we could SEE songs they would be luminous trails in the breath of space. And from there, they drift down to us and we absorb them. 

We respond emotionally to every one we hear. That might be in the subconscious, that might be in our present mindfulness. The ones we can sense are like guardians  -  but they are all real.    Some of them we lodge in our hearts where they reside till our last day. Those special ones serve a perfect purpose, always at hand to come into our conscious world to lift us out of the dark.   

Young NZers find in songs the means of expression that is like no other. Their words speak to us of love, regret, joy, loss, celebration, despair, pathos, reward, rejection, perfection. You get it. And those words merged with the music they bring from empty space bring songs into our sphere for us to savour and delight in. But it’s bigger than that.   

Songs written by young NZers forge a communal strand, a national voice, a summation of who they are and with that, it’s clear that they are telling us who we are. Listening to the hundreds of songs that we receive at Play It Strange is like opening a window into the hearts and minds of our youth. And there is much to learn.


The Board of Trustees

The Play It Strange Board of Trustees is the backbone to our trust. Under the Trust Deed registered in November 2003, the board has seen many committed and focused New Zealand men and women combine to bring a forward-thinking and contemporary energy to the Play It Strange purpose.

Tony Caughey

Tony has been a Trustee of the Play It Strange Trust since 2005 and Chairman since 2008.  He is a company director and strategy consultant. He is chairman of Smith and Caughey's. He is a member of the Business Advisory Panel to the Auckland Council and has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Andrew Ferrier

Andrew Ferrier is a businessman with a very global background. A Canadian and New Zealand citizen, Andrew was CEO of Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, New Zealand’s largest company, for 8 years. Together with his wife Danielle Guitard, Andrew runs his own private investment business.

Justine Ross

Justine was elected onto the Play It Strange board in July 2013. Justine was a co-founder of the vodka brand 42-Below with her husband Geoff Ross. She is currently a shareholder in Moa Breweries, Ecoya candles and Trilogy.

Neil Hopkins

Neil Hopkins is a Finance Executive with 25 years professional and commercial experience. His experience includes Finance Director for Sony Music New Zealand, which allowed him the opportunity to mix business with his passion for music. Neil joined the board of Play It Strange in 2007.

Sonja Hawkins

Sonja worked in Commercial Interiors for 7 years before setting up her own Interior Design business and working around raising her 4 children for the past 20 years. In 2015 she and husband Glenn started a new business MyArt - offering interest free loans for the purchase of art works.

David Boyle

David is GM of Investor Education at the Commission for Financial Capability which also runs the Sorted Website.  David’s focus is one of helping all generations prepare for their retirement years. His other passion outside financial capability is music. David is also a board member with Stand Children’s Services previously known as Children’s Health Camps.

Claire O'Connell

Claire has worked in the social media space for 10 years. She began her social media career with Myspace in 2006 in Sydney before going on to work at both Bebo and Facebook in London and Auckland. She now has her own business, The Classroom, where she trains and consults businesses of all sizes on how to get the best out of their social media marketing.

Fred Soar

Fred Soar heads up Soar Printing, a family-owned company founded in 1920. Fred is a past chairman and trustee of Melanoma New Zealand, a registered charitable trust that supports awareness, education, prevention, treatment and research of melanoma in New Zealand , and a board member of PrintNZ.


Key Personnel

Advisory Trustees of Play It Strange

Sam Neill
Murray Thom
Sean Fitzpatrick
Bill Moran

People that make the Play It Strange trust

Mike Chunn
Debbie Little
Tom Dalton
Neil Finn (Settlor)
Bill Moran
Pam Wardenburg

Mike Chunn

Mike Chunn was a musician in his 20s as a founding member of Split Enz and Citizen Band. In his 30s he ran Mushroom Records which signed Dance Exponents and DD Smash. In his 40s he ran APRA and he is now CEO of Play It Strange. He is married with five children

Debbie Little

Debbie has worked with Mike Chunn for more than 20 years - initially at APRA in 1994. In 2004 she joined the Play It Strange world. Debbie is the General Manager of Play It Strange. In essence she brings cohesion and efficiency to the Play It Strange infrastructure.

Tom Dalton

Tom works part time at Play It Strange managing the economics of our operations. Tom is also the manager for Don McGlashan and works on repertoire and music publishing projects in the NZ music industry.

Neil Finn

Neil Finn, one of New Zealand's premier singer-songwriters, is the settlor of the Play It Strange Trust.

Bill Moran

Play It Strange was conceived by Bill Moran (the then economic adviser to the Associate Minister of Finance, Trevor Mallard) in 2003. Bill formulated the initial infrastructure of the trust and played a large part in its building up steam in 2004. Play It Strange will always be indebted to him.

Pam Wardenburg

Pam is the board of trustees' secretary. She is the communications manager for publicly listed company, Rubicon Limited.  Her career has involved working for large corporates, including many years at Fletcher Challenge Corporate, and a stint in the e-commerce team at The Warehouse. Outside work, music is one of her favourite passions and distractions, as is her family.