The APRA Music Grants programme assists with the general running costs for the operation of the Play It Strange Trust and its programmes.

About The Play It Strange Trust

The Play It Strange Trust was established in November 2003 for the purpose of encouraging young New Zealanders to develop interests and skills in songwriting and musical performance. The Trust intends running a range of programmes across New Zealand to achieve its purpose. For the first time in our history, we have a popular music industry where local artists singing original songs are outperforming the Anglo-American imports. And this celebration is happening at all levels. From the Beehive to the church hall, from the decile 1 school to the Aotea Centre, NZ music is coming across loud and clear.

The Trust is established to encourage young New Zealanders to develop interests and skills in music, composing and performance. In promoting this purpose, the Trust wishes also to:

  • Provide young New Zealanders with positive role models.
  • Give life skills to young New Zealanders, such as self-confidence, reliability, responsibility, communication and leadership, which will enable those young persons to make a positive contribution to New Zealand communities.
  • Encourage and facilitate opportunities for young New Zealanders to make, and experiment in, music that will reflect New Zealand’s unique characteristics, thereby encouraging creativity and innovation in New Zealand music.
  • Bring music workshops to New Zealand schools.
  • Instigate music composition assessment programmes.
  • Encourage and promote New Zealand secondary school music competitions.
  • Establish mentoring programmes for promising young New Zealand songwriters and composers.
  • Develop links between established musicians and New Zealand youth by bringing established musicians to New Zealand schools.


Tell us about Play it Strange

Founded in 2003, the Play it Strange Trust runs programmes that shine a spotlight on young songwriters and musicians - their songs, recordings and performances. It runs a number of school-orientated songwriting competitions – the only entity in New Zealand to do so at this level.

Play it Strange run songwriting competitions - the principal competition being the Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition which has been running for eleven years. Songwriters of all ages have blossomed in this competition and gone onto substantial post-school careers - including Kimbra, Annah Mac, Graham Candy (currently successful in Germany), Eden Roberts (USA), Jake Cropley (recent star of the Scottish Celtic Connections festival), Jesse Sheehan and many more………

How is the APRA Music Grant used by your organisation?

The APRA Music Grant is used across all of the programs run by Play It Strange, ensuring that our programs are optimised in their reach. It contributes to the stability of our organisation.

Who benefits from the work of your organisation?

The young emerging songwriters and musicians in the school system benefit from our work. 
They are given a platform upon which to develop. The music family - including APRA, whanau, community, the country and ultimately the world benefits from these opportunities.

How important is music to your organisation?

Music is paramount. Song is the key focus. Getting it out there, writing it, recording it, performing it. 

Why does the world need music – what does it achieve?

It was recently said in our Play It Strange office - anyone who says they don't like music is lying. 
Music is community, culture, defining, all embracing - achieving more than can be put into words.

What are some positive changes currently afoot in the music industry in New Zealand?

Trevor Thwaites - senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education - Auckland University, recently went out to the music teachers email group, Musicnet, and proposed the introduction of an achievement standard in songwriting. He received a very large amount of feedback, principally positive. It feels that the time has come for the introduction of this standard so that lyric writing AND composition merge together in the craft of songwriting and becomes an integral part of the NCEA environment.

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