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Musicians to give a voice to autism at national conference

Musicians to give a voice to autism at national conference

For immediate release

A young musician who has written a song which he hopes will change the way people think about an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is to launch his debut single We Are One at the Autism New Zealand national conference next month with Mike Chunn, of Split Enz fame.

The conference, at Shed 6 in Wellington on August 19 and 20 is proudly sponsored by Pak ‘N Save Petone and Hutt City, and will feature keynote speakers from the United States and Australia, with musician Kane Chong debuting his song at the Autism New Zealand awards dinner on August 19.

“I’ve written an original song about autism and enlisted the help of my peers that study music at ACG College with me and created a project that’s gathering momentum."

“Now I’m working on a musical mentoring partnership with Mike Chunn from the Play it Strange Trust to perfect and record this song with a famous New Zealand artist and get it out there to raise awareness and say it’s okay to talk about autism openly,” says Chong.

That famous New Zealand artist is Jordan Luck from the Exponents.

Chunn, formerly of Split Enz and Citizen Band fame, and Chong, who has a childhood friend with autism, will be at the conference dinner. Chong will play acoustic guitar with Chunn on ukulele at the event aimed at people on the autism spectrum, families/whanau, medical professionals, educationalists and others in the autism community

Chunn says that he was blown away by Kane Chong’s pitch.

“This self-assured kid walks in, unfazed, and presents me with a case for support for what is essentially his school project. I was really taken by his passion and his enthusiasm for recording and promoting ‘We Are One’, so I’ve pulled some strings and we’re doing it,” says Chunn.

The song will be recorded and mixed at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studio in Auckland on August 8 and 9, with Chong assisting Eddie Rayner, best known as the keyboard player in Split Enz, as rookie sound engineer, Kane’s dream job. Kane’s music course classmates at AGC Parnell will provide a chorus of 30-strong voices.

“I believe like all musicians that music is powerful and the healer to a lot of the world’s problems,” Chong says.

Dane Dougan, CEO of Autism New Zealand which is the chosen charity for any funds raised over the course of the project, is very excited.

“I think this song will definitely help us to broaden general understanding of autism – it’s just what’s needed to make ASD more relatable and provide more ‘talkability’. People seem to have limited experience and understanding of autism, and often perceive the child as being just ‘naughty’. That’s something that needs to change,” says Dougan.

Dougan says that one in three Kiwi classrooms contains a child with autism and that figure is growing. “ASD is the fastest growing developmental impairment in New Zealand, but it is also the most underfunded. It affects 77,500 New Zealanders – one in 58 people – equivalent to the entire Otago region. It has no known cause, and no known cure."


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