Split Enz bass player helps his old school establish School of Imagination

school of imagination

Mike Chunn, the original bass player in Split Enz, and an alumnus of Sacred Heart College, has been one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the School of Imagination at the college.

He was present at the recent official opening of a digital recording studio will allow the teaching of NCEA Level 3 Song Writing which has been accredited this year by NZQA.

Other prominent alumni at the opening included Peter Urlich and Rikki Morris.

During the opening ceremony, Rikki and the late Ian Morris, were inducted onto the college’s Arts Honours Board along with musician Bernie Allen, sculptor Denis O’Connor and cartoonist Keith Waite (deceased).

They join 17 previous inductees, with famous musicians Tim Finn, Dave Dobbyn, Mike Chunn and Peter Urlich, photographer Peter Bush, pianist Jeffrey Grice, broadcaster – the late Frank Torley and artist Milan Mrkusich to name a few.

Chunn has been advocating the development of the School of Imagination because he want to see musical innovation fostered in the school.

“Now that we’ve given them a field to play on they’ll go into the recording studio and start making records of songs that they have written and all the crafts that come with it,” he said.

“To me the School of Imagination is a model for what every school should have.”

Chunn said music wasn’t a subject when he attended Sacred Heart College in the 1960s.

He recalls sneaking off with Tim Finn and other classmates to pretend to practice piano because that was the only instrument they were encouraged to pursue.

“But it wasn’t [piano], we were just dreaming of being The Beatles, Chunn said.

As a result, he and the likes of Finn didn’t take music seriously until after they left school.

Chunn is the founder of Play It Strange, a charitable trust that develops musical and writing skills at secondary school level.


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