Youthtown Songwriting 2022

Across 3 national regions, songs were entered by Yr 9 - 11 students.
Every songwriter can take pride in their achievement. Writing a song, recording it and submitting it to Play It Strange points to a creative skill that is a true force -  and the more songs that are written the greater the skill pattern evolves.

2022 Results

First Place

Naimah Manchanda

"Sugar And Spice"

Lynfield College

Regional Winners

Region 1: Northland & Auckland

Region 2: Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wanganui and Wellington

Region 3: South Island

Region 1


Leigh Edmeades

Albany Senior High School

Region 2

"Ka hoki nei au"

Arohea Pewhairangi,
Omaio Waititi,
Mahara Kururangi,
Honore Ingle,
Ihaka Hongara,
Whaiururangi Maxwell

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga


"Endless Time"

Jenny Petegem-Thach,
Jazz Mackie

Taieri College


If you are a winner or finalist please read the important information regarding the prize of professionally recording your song here. Finished recordings are due on Monday 11th July (we can be flexible - please contact us).

You will also receive a certificate and further information sent to you at school.

Full Finalist List

Axel Riley,
Kharn Wilson


Papamoa College

Phoebe Sephton


Tauraroa Area School

Willliam Johnston

"Back To Me"

Rangiora New Life School

Emma Bain,
Kate Burkett,
Keira Wallace,
Chiara Crompton Bray

"Better Youth"

Taieri College

Ella Aitken,
Ethan Early,
Ethan Porteous,
Robert Hannaford,
Shannen Wallis,
Tyler Little

"Black And White"

Taieri College

Miller Corric


Kaipara College

Kate Cronin

"Butterfly Hutch"

Epsom Girls' Grammar School

Jacob King

"Can You Hear Me?"

Hauraki Plains College

Caleb Wright


Rangitoto College

Immy Morey,
Sammy McCormick


Otago Girls' High School

Bella Scott-HaEngA,
Summer Swann


Gisborne Girls' High School

Alyahna Sanson-Rejouis

"Crystal Tears"

Nelson College For Girls

Izzy Robinson

"Cup Is Half Full"

New Plymouth Girls' High School

Luca Macrides

"Dead In The Eye"

Auckland Grammar

Mia Coldicott


Garin College


region 3 winner

Jazz Mackie,
Jenny Petegem-Thach

"Endless Time"

Taieri College

Max Horn

"Everything's Good"

Wellington College

Zara Rafiq

"Fix This Lie"

Aorere College

Aorangi Jahnke,
Praise Moeau

"Gap It"

Gisborne Girls' High School

Mya Jeram

"Handle That"

Kapiti College

Olivia Breese


Queens High School

Aviy Cruz


Rangitikei College


Nikau Grace Chater


Rotorua Girls' High School

Leo Mwape

"If I Died Tomorrow"

Palmerston North Boys' High School

Kamryn Davis-Gray,
Tali'Ofa Pofele

"If You're Feeling Down"

Gisborne Girls' High School

Lily Kingston

"Is This Fame?"

Palmerston North Girls' High School

region 2 winner

Arohea Pewhairangi,
Honore Ingle,
Ihaka Hongara,
Mahara Kururangi,
Omaio Waititi,
Whaiururangi Maxwell

"Ka hoki nei au"

TKKM o Horouta Wānanga

Lexi More

"Let’s Sit Inside"

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

Lily Stiven

"Lonely Days"

Whangaroa College

Frankie Venter

"Lonely Roads"

Mt Maunganui College

Aaron Ko,
Aryan Thakkar,
Elliott Borland,
Zac Saunders

"Lose It All"

Albany Junior High School


Lyra Woolley

"Man In The Moon"

Logan Park High School

Martha Komornicki

"Morning Haze"

Kaipara College

Emma Wagner,
Tilly Wells

"Never Ever"

Lynfield College

Mahinaarangi Wara

"New Girl"

Western Springs College

Ben Gambaro

"No One Knows"

Henderson High School

Daisy Spott

"Not Your Hero"


Grace Allis

"Nursery Rhymes"

Kristin School

Marich Young-Moeke

"One In A Million"

Tongariro School

Emily-Rose Young

"Only In New Zealand"

Queens High School

Dylan Smith,
Matai Harrison,
Zac Masterton,
Zak Culverwell

"Overlook Me"

Kaipara College

Poppy Middlemiss,
Savanah Baty

"Overthinking Ocean"

Gisborne Girls' High School

Rebekah Lile

"Queen Of Volatility"

Massey High School

Chantelle Xiong

"Rain In My Soul"

St Andrew's College

Hayden Lam


St Andrew's College

Kylie Waititi,
Micah Kapea

"Road Trip"

Gisborne Girls' High School

Sonny Pring

"Roller Skate Kate"

Kristin School

Freddy Komornicki,
Leo Cotter,
Mitchell Brooks

"Slip Away"

Kaipara College

Mila Laarakkers


Kaipara College

region 1 winner

Leigh Edmeades


Albany Senior High School

Jade Te Hira

"Stuck Together"

Wellington East Girls' College


Naimah Manchanda

"Sugar And Spice"

Lynfield College

Aayushi Nand

"Temperamental Friend"

Lynfield College

Finn Clark

"The Light In Me"


Dan O'Brien,
Lochie Ing-Aram


John McGlashan College

Alex Anderson

"Touch The Sky"

Wellington High School & Com Ed Centre

Cassandra Cai


St Kentigern College


Piper Grant

"U Give Me Chills"


Tayla Keech


Papanui High School

Emilee Crawford

"We'll Be Alright"

Hobsonville Point Secondary School

Liana Watene,
Maikel Terekia,
Makiwhara Savage,
Matariki Ngarimu,
Te Aturangi Peters


TKKM o Horouta Wānanga

Miyu Okuwaki

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

Lynfield College

Cameron Beattie

"Who Needs You"

Long Bay College

Kenzy Waters

"Wish For Me"

Albany Junior High School

Angelina Reyes

"With You"

Henderson High School

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.

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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.

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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

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