Magic moments (and Duco Events) wisk up luminaries to raise cash for Play It Strange, writes Mike Chunn.

Play it Strange, our charitable trust that focuses on the songwriting talents of young New Zealanders had a bad year last year — meagre fundraising success and a cold chill permeating our financials. Our trial balance is a trial.

Our new chairman, Fred Soar, says, "We need to meet David Higgins at Duco Events." My immediate thought is, "Mmm. Joseph Parker could be hired to heavy banks to sponsor us!" But no. "We'll just ask if we can see him," says Fred.

A few weeks later, Fred and I are in the lift heading to the Duco offices and I ask Fred, "What shall we say to him?"


"Don't say anything," he replies. And in we go.

Higgins instantly proffers an idea. "Let's have a Q&A event with Sir Bob Geldof and Mick Fleetwood!" I look at Fred and Fred looks at me. Higgins continues.

"We'll run a cool auction at it and Play It Strange will receive the net proceeds. It will be substantial." Substantial? I like this guy.

Musician Mike Chunn at his home in Remuera. Photo / Greg Bowker
Musician Mike Chunn at his home in Remuera. Photo / Greg Bowker

But getting Geldof and Fleetwood up on a stage? In Auckland? How do you fly to the moon?

A short while later I get, what is now much to my liking, a short Higgins phone call.

"Mike. Can you meet me tomorrow morning at the Sofitel Hotel cafe at 10am?"

"I can."

"Thanks Mike." Click.


I walk into this waterfront cafe and there is Higgins, his eyes on fire, and his co-worker Chrissy. I'm introduced to a chap with an elegant English accent whose name is Mark.

And there's another geezer sitting at the table — Sir Bob Geldof.

WHAT!!! Sir Bob Geldof?

We are all introduced to the knight and in a short while he has taken a shine to coming back to Auckland this month and doing a Q&A with Mick Fleetwood who he's never met.

I do a fairly good job of settling down my shock and we all slip away in the winter sun. A week or three later, Higgins rings me.

"I'm trying to connect with Carl Stubner, Mick Fleetwood's manager in Santa Monica. I've emailed him but haven't got a reply. Can you email? You used to be in Split Enz. That will ring bells with him."

Bells? I do. Carl emails me back. "Can you call me, Mike?"

Ring ring ring.

"Hi Mike. Now let's bring up this file. It's here somewhere. Mick has told me he wants to do the Q&A."

WHAT! Mick wants to do it. I should run to the window, open it wide and scream "YIPPEEE". But that may be uncool. Instead I put a big smile on my face and ask him a question. "What's the surf like in Santa Monica today?"

On September 23, I will walk onto the Vodafone Event Centre stage with Sir Bob Geldof and Mick Fleetwood and a beautiful dialogue will evolve from these two bright, sparkling men of rock and roll.

Sir Bob Geldof. Photo / Supplied
Sir Bob Geldof. Photo / Supplied

And around 300 teenage singers and musicians along with iconic NZ songsmiths will perform songs requested by Sir Bob and Mick.

Think about it. Magic.

Playing It Strange

• The Playing It Strange Q&A, banquet dinner, auction and concert event is at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau on September 23.

• Tickets are available

• NZME, owner of the Herald, is an event partner.