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The Paris peace accord

Listening to the hundreds of works songwriting support platform for secondary students Play It Strange receives is like opening a window into the hearts and minds of New Zealand’s youth, says the organisation’s chief executive, Mike Chunn.

Recently added to that collective, musical voice is Gisborne Girls’ High student Paris Maxwell’s Life Boat, which was announced this week as the winner of Play It Strange’s 2019 peace song competition.

Paris and the four runner-ups from around the country will now go on to record their songs in a professional recording studio.

The compilation will make up the 2019 Peace Song Album.

The peace song competition embraces the theme of peace and non-violence and may be interpreted broadly from inner personal peace, peace in the home and among families to peace between people of the world.

For Life Boat, Paris chose as her theme reconciliation with a close friend after the two fell out.

“The song was about a friend who had been through a lot. I felt the need to put into a song how I didn’t want to lose her.

“We’ve been friends for ages but went through a rough patch.”

The song’s title signifies hope, a way through troubled waters, says Paris.

“When I got you in my life/ I know just what to do/ When the seas cut up rough/ You’re the lifeboat to pull me through/ I got you,” says the song’s chorus.

“This girl was my lifeboat for getting through things. I didn’t want to lose her because she’s helped me out so much.”

Paris recorded herself performing the song and sent the video to her friend.

“I talked to her about it later and she was like ‘oh my God, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me.”

Life Boat was one of the songs Paris’s band Astrik, a Smokefree Rockquest finalist and winner of the people’s choice award, submitted to the national Smokefree Rockquest. With a bent towards more comic songwriting than heard in Life Boat, Paris won a Smokefree lyric-writing category in 2017 for her song Not Achieved, a play on NCEA’s (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) term for ‘fail’.

CALM WATERS: Gisborne Girls’ High student Paris Maxwell’s song Life Boat was announced this week as the winner of Play It Strange’s 2019 peace song competition. Picture by Liam Clayton