Who Loves Who 2020 Winners



“Hawks & Doves" by Reb Fountain

Mahurangi College

Kate Popham, Mahurangi College, Warkworth has evolved over recent years into a true talented songwriter, singer and musician along with a creative skill in recording technology. The Who Loves Who competition calls for a unique arrangement of a NZ commercially released song with performance and recording skills to the fore.  Kate is this year's winner and her beautiful version of Reb Fountain's 'Hawks And Doves" says it all. Congratulations Kate.

Top 29 Finalists

First Place : SEVEN ZEN


"Hawks & Doves"
by Reb Fountain

Mahurangi College

Meg Hunter

by Benee

Kuranui College

Cailyn Eccles

"Gather Yourselves"
by Villainy

Hillcrest High School

Cameron Stewart

Velvet Strings

"How Bizarre"
by OMC

Taieri College

Sophie BROWN


by Lorde

Epsom Girls' Grammar School

Trinity Price

"If Only"
by tEEKS

St Mary's College (Ponsonby)

Paul-Isaac Gibson

"Tangaroa Whakamautai"
by Maisey Rika

Scots College

Trace Williams

by Benee

Scots College

Ailin, Blake, Jackson, & Aiden


by Dragon

James Hargest College

Monique  Shirley

BixWeet Kids

by Benee

Hauraki Plains College

Emma Painton

by Kora

Kaipara College

Patrick Cheeseman

Minho and the Drongos

"In The Air"
by L.A.B.

ACG Strathallan

Caleb  Croy

Caleb, Ella and Sophie

"Find You"
by Stan Walker

Taieri College

Caleb  King

Deaf Horse

"Ready or Not"
by Church & AP

Scots College

Liam Boyne

by Fazerdaze

Taieri College

Keira Wallace

by Ezra Vine

Taieri College

Rebecca  Caffyn

Becca Caffyn

"Weather With You"
by Crowded House

Rototuna Senior High School

Jackson  Parker


by Lorde

Kings College

Holly Graney

by Lorde

Diocesan School For Girls

Amber Hayward

by Mitch James

Rototuna Junior High School

Abigail Love

by Brooke Fraser

Tauhara College

Riya Raniga

"Tennis Court"
by Lorde

Diocesan School For Girls

Imogen Foley

by SIX60

Diocesan School For Girls

Molly Pawson

"Blue Smoke"
by Ruru Karaitiana

Napier Girls' High School

Marcos Munro-Roldan

by Margaret Urlich

St Bernard's College

Liberty Fowler

by Bic Runga

Napier Girls' High School

Alexandra Graney

"White Teeth Teens"
by Lorde

Diocesan School For Girls

Ruby Pepper

"For today"
by Netherworld Dancing Toys

Baradene College

George  Walker


"Buzzcut Season"
by Lorde

Western Springs College


The Who Loves Who Competition is a chance for year 9 to 13 students to celebrate New Zealand music by recording their own unique and evocative interpretation of a New Zealand song.

This competition is Supported by a Music Grant from Recorded Music NZ.

The first place getter receives a day’s recording session at a professional studio of their choice. All finalists will get their tracks mastered by Kog Studio mastering wizard, Chris Chetland, to be released on a Who Loves Who Competition album.

All the entries are listened to and judged by an experienced panel. Each song is judged 50% on lyrics and 50% on the music.

About us

Come inside our world

Songwriting is a craft of the imagination and we believe that the creative environment surrounding songwriters should foster, expose and celebrate these songs. 

We run songwriting competitions with lyric, Maori language, Peace Song awards and others alongside. And we record at least 40 finalists each year in professional recording studios.

Songwriting, performance, and recording are the three pivots of our music evolution.

Read more

NZ Songwriters have their own take on what makes songwriting a vibrant, creative practice - read their fresh perspectives in our Songwriters Speak page

Songwriters Speak

2017 Play It Strange Album

Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition Finalists - songs are free to stream and download

2018 Deadlines

We've designed a poster with all key deadlines and dates for our competitions. Make sure to stick them in your calendar!

Further information about each competitions entry requirements can be found below in our "Competitions" section. 

Online entry forms are now available for each competition.

Download the PDF and print it out, stick it up at school and hand it out to friends, get the word out there!

Download and Print

Different by May Zeng

Winner of the 2017 Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition 

Director/Producer: Mareea Vegas / DOP: Kent Belcher / Art dept: Alex Matthews / Editor: Zac Blair /
Post production: Henry Williamson @ Thievery Studio / Hair: Luci Hare / Makeup: Tiveshni Naidoo / Clothing: Thanks to Lela Jacobs
Special thanks to NZ On Air for their Special Tracks grant which covered the recording and film making.


Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition


The National Secondary School Songwriting Competition is the flagship programme of the Play It Strange Trust.

Read More

Peace Song Competition


This competition seeks songs with the lyrics embodying a focus on Peace. N.B. We are unable to offer the Hiroshima Exchange prizes this year.

Read More

Who Loves Who Competition


The Winner and all Finalists have been announced.
For all secondary school students in NZ.
The competition is judged based on the originality of the cover you choose to rearrange and sing, written and performed by a kiwi artist.
Supported by a Music Grant from Recorded Music NZ.

Read More

Strange Art


Play It Strange presents a Cover Art competition to celebrate all creatives at New Zealand Secondary Schools. 

This competition seeks an Album Artwork for the front cover of the 2018 Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition.

Read More

Sign up to our Newsletters

What we do

We do all sorts of cool projects

Play It Strange has worked for over 10 years, striving to provide secondary students with a platform they can use to pursue their musical adventures. We've held concerts, workshops and competitions, all with the intentions to provide the right environment from which students can gain confidence, self-belief and an impetus for a career path they would like to follow.

Read More

Songwriting is now an NCEA achievement standard

Songwriting will be offered as Level 3 NCEA achievement standard beginning 2017 - a victory!

Get Involved

Strange Friends

Patrons, Strange Friend Stars and our Strange Friends are a crucial and valuable community that support us.

We would love you to come on board.
All donations are tax deductible.

If you are interested in becoming a Platinum Patron or Strange Friends Star or indeed support Play It Strange in any way please give us a call, we would love to catch up and talk.

Email Us(09) 377 7919

Songwriting at University of Waikato

University of Waikato have completed their first Songwriting paper

University of Waikato summer paper ‘Introduction To SONGWRITING’ has just finished.
Students have finalised the tracking of their two songs and the results are very cool.

Read More

I Know This To Be True was conceived and assembled by Geoff Blackwell of PQ Blackwell, and Ric Salizzo. It is a book about truth, beauty and wisdom. "Sixty New Zealanders in the middle of interesting lives talk about what really matters, truth and beauty, and the things they hold dear to their hearts."

Royalties from the book sales will be forwarded to PLAY IT STRANGE to further their website and school programmes.

I Know This To Be True is an incredible collection of New Zealanders discussing what it is that is important to them. PQ Blackwell have generously donated all profits from book sales to Play It Strange. We cannot thank them enough for their support of Play It Strange, and we are so grateful to be part of such a rich, inspiring project.

The book is available for purchase from any good book store in New Zealand and online. Go and get one and enjoy!

Listen to more of our songs here 

The songs on our Bandcamp are free to stream and download. Go crazy. They are there for your listening.


See what our Alumni are up to

Play It Strange songwriters that have had their songs recorded for the annual CD are making cool inroads out into the world. Their career paths were fuelled from their time at school during which they sent their songs into our competitions and triumphed.

Here we have a selection of those who hit the ground running when they left school. With songwriting, performance and recording experience they were capable and poised for action.

Read more


Happy customers and clients

CUSTOMERS: Those philanthropic institutions, individuals, grants bodies and funding agencies. We applaud their generosity in supporting us and their focus on the benefits we bring to the society around us.

CLIENTS: The songwriters and performers that bring their imaginative craft and performing skills to bear and we are all rewarded. From the secondary school songwriting competitions to the recording sessions for the top 40 songs.

Read more

We Are One

A Concert for Autism

Watch Seven Sharp's story on our WE ARE ONE - Concert for Autism here

Photo GalleryNZ Musician Magazine Review