Mike Chunn grew up in 50s and 60s Auckland where much was as it always had been. But The Beatles turned him upside down and he set out on a path to be a member of a band that took their music to the world. Luckily his parents thought that was rather a cool idea in spite of all their friends thinking he was foolish.
Shortly after leaving Sacred Heart College, he teamed up with old classmate Tim Finn and his new friend Phil Judd and they formed a group with the name Split Ends. It just so happened that the Judd/Finn combo wrote songs and further to that, they were very good ones. Split Ends gathered more members, changed to Enz and on a twelve-year career, played all over the world.
Mike unfortunately was only there for five years as his phobic disorder, agoraphobia, drove him from the band. He then formed Citizen Band with his brother Geoffrey but again, touring brought his disorder back and he was gone from stages and life on the road.
With the world of music still driving him forward, he started the Mushroom NZ record label as a talent source for the Australian head office. DD Smash and Dance Exponents were signed and sold many copies of their great albums. But then a new marriage and a yearning for some time in a new country found him settled in London for two years until his daughter Georgia was born and he and his wife, Brigid, returned to NZ.
Not long after his return he was appointed the Director NZ Operations for the Australasian Performing Right Association, which licensed the performance and broadcast of copyright music on behalf of the world's writers, composers and publishers.
That role also brought with it a strong advocacy role and Mike became part of the campaign for music quotas on radio, a music commission and well a greater respect in society for the original songs that NZers wrote.
After eleven years and with NZ music ten times more ubiquitous on radio and the establishment of a music commission, Mike started the Play It Strange Trust.
Play It Strange exists to shine the spotlight into NZ schools to bring into the light the great songs that are written there. And some fine songwriters have emerged form those shadowy corners. Annah Mac, Georgia Nott (Broods), Thomston, Graham Candy, Jesse Sheehan, Louis Baker and more. A new breed of sophisticated singer/songwriter is moving out into the world today and the change is being made.
Mike also involved himself in advocating for de-stigmatisation in the area of mental health. He was a trustee of the Phobic Trust, featured in the Like Minds Like Mine campaign and now speaks about anxiety disorders and the like all with the intention of helping people realise that a mental disorder is not a shameful condition. It is something we all need to understand and that people with those disorders should be understood and respected.