A number of Play It Strange songwriters that have had their songs recorded for our annual albums are making cool inroads out into the world.

Here we have a selection of those who hit the ground running when they walked out the school gates. With songwriting, performance and recording experience they were capable and poised for action. Have a scroll through. There will be more to come.

You can listen to both our Alumni's songs and current catalogue of songs in our bandcamp.

Alumni List

Alayna Powley

Western Heights High School (Rotorua)

"Threads” - 2010

"Give Us Something” - 2011

Annah Mac

St Hilda’s Collegiate (Dunedin)

“Blue Butterfly” - 2006

“Home” - 2007

“Ms Munroe” - 2008

Abby Knudsen-Hollebon

St Hilda’s Collegiate (Dunedin)

“Alice” - 2011

Connor Moore

Mt. Aspiring College (Wanaka)

"Please Turn Out The Lights” - 2012

“Stranger” - 2014

"Bumble Bee” - 2015

Celeste Oram

Diocesan School for Girls (Auckland )

"Rebecca" - 2005

Independently” - 2014 (with Rosie Frith, Regan Hillyer, Isabelle Kimber and Megan Grinlinton)


Epsom Girls Grammar (Auckland)

"Mix Up" – 2009 (with Alexandra Jost, Jasmine Plows, Niloofar Mohammadzadeh)

Eden Roberts
(Eden Iris)

Western Springs College (Auckland)

“Into The Woods” - 2010

“Childhood Puzzles”
& "White Blanket" - 2011

“Essence Above” - 2012

Emanuel Psathas

Wellington College (Wellington)

"Above The Atmosphere" - 2012

"End Of The Sky” - 2013

Elizabeth Stokes
(The Beths)

Macleans College (Auckland)

“Wave At Me From Across The Sea” - 2008

Eliette Boumeester
(Eliette Roslin)

Westlake Girls School (Auckland)

“Believe” - 2011

Graham Candy

Rangitoto College (Auckland)

“Lasts Forever” - 2008

Georgia Campbell

Epsom Girls Grammar (Auckland)

"Dirty Water” - 2011

“Ambition” - 2012

“Flawed” - 2013

"Convince Me” - 2014

Georgia Nott
(Broods & The Venus Project)

Garin College (Nelson)

“Better” - 2012

Gala George

"White Snow" – 2008

"November" – 2010

"Maybe (It's Too Late)" – 2011

Joe Coffee

Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)

“Attendance” - 2008

Jesse Sheehan

Wellington College (Wellington)

“Just Another Silly Love Song” - 2008

“Cake And Love and Wine” - 2009

Jimmy Wong

St Peters College (Auckland)

“LA (But you’re much better)” - 2007

“The Real You” - 2008

Kimbra Johnson

Hillcrest High School (Hamilton)

"It Takes Time” - 2004

Kelly Harris

Baradene College (Auckland)

"And So It Begins Again” - 2012

"When Love Won’t Break My Heart” - 2013

Kendall Elise
(Kendall Todd)

Rosehill College (Auckland)

“Spring” - 2005

Lucy Graves
(Parker Lane)

Avondale College (Auckland)

“Grin and Make It Good” - 2004

Lachie Kermode

Auckland Grammar School (Auckland)

"Fair Falling” - 2011

Louis Baker

Wellington College (Wellington)

“Three Ladies” - 2007

Madeline Bradley

Napier Girls High (Napier)

“Gypsy Home” - 2012

“That Feeling” - 2013

Matt Nanai

Lynfield College (Auckland)

"Forever Love” - 2006

"Happy Birthday” - 2007

“Penelope” - 2008

"Black Madonna” - 2009

Neil Macleod

St Andrew’s College (Christchurch)

2016 ’Settle’

2016 Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition

(Tom Chamberlain, Angus Hampton-Carr, Leo Crawshaw-Bond, Carlos Martin and Te Kapua Pene)

‘Lay Me Down’ - 2018

‘Lie' - 2019

Rebel Reid
(Vallkyrie with Brandon Haru and Omer Gilroy)

Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)

"Watching You" with Mary Palamo
and Jesse Pataia - 2005

Silika Isaia

Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)

‘Madmen’ - 2018

‘Canvas’ - 2019

Sam Blakelock

St. Andrews College (Christchurch)

“Marmalade” with Reuben Todd - 2006

"Sing Along Song” - 2007

Sam Allen

Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)

"Immature Angelique” - 2007

"We Gotta Move” - 2008

Sophie Mashlan

Ragitoto College (Auckland)

“The Bird” - 2014

“Flowers and the Sea” - 2015

“Shadow” - 2016


Avondale College (Auckland)

“This Mess” - 2012

“Sleep Deprived” - 2013

Songwriters Speak

NZ Songwriters have their own take on what makes songwriting a vibrant, creative practice. They talk about their views.

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.

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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