Flying Nun Records

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Flying Nun Records
Founded1981 (1981)
FounderRoger Shepherd
GenreIndie pop
Indie rock
Country of originNew Zealand

Flying Nun Records is an independent record label formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1981 by music-store manager Roger Shepherd.[1]


The label was formed in the wake of a flurry of new post-punk-inspired labels forming in New Zealand in the early 1980s, in particular Propeller Records in Auckland. The intention was to record the original local music of Christchurch, but soon the label rose to national prominence by championing the emerging music of Dunedin.

The Pin Group's "Ambivalence" 7" (the first band of Roy Montgomery) was the first release from Flying Nun, although it is widely assumed that "Tally Ho" by The Clean was the first release, as it unexpectedly reached number nineteen in the New Zealand charts, bringing the label unanticipated profile and income. This was followed by the seminal Dunedin Double, a release which cemented the place of the southern city in the forefront of New Zealand independent music. Flying Nun moved into the full-length album market in 1982 with the Ego Gratification Album by Chris Knox and Beatin Hearts by Builders (recorded 1982, Auckland).

Many of the most prominent kiwi rock and alternative bands have been signed to Flying Nun at some stage in their careers. In 2000, Australian youth radio network Triple J produced a list of the thirty "Greatest New Zealand acts of all time", twenty of which were Flying Nun artists. The label has been home to various styles of music, including the much-debated Dunedin sound, "high-end pop with a twist", lo-fi experimentation, strongly Velvet Underground-influenced pop, minimalism, industrial, and rock-electronic crossover.

In 1999 Matthew Bannister of The Sneaky Feelings wrote Positively George Street: A Personal History of the Sneaky Feelings and the Dunedin Sound, covering the New Zealand music industry of the 1980s, including Flying Nun.

In 1990 Festival Records bought a fifty percent stake in Flying Nun, and then in 2000 merged with Mushroom Records, bringing Flying Nun into the Festival-Mushroom Records family of companies. Flying Nun was acquired as part of the purchase of FMR (Festival Mushroom Records) by Warner Music Group in 2006.[1] A consortium that included Shepherd bought back the label from Warner on 21 December 2009, for "more than what I sold it for".[1] New Zealand musician, Neil Finn, his wife Sharon, and another business partner, together own a quarter-share in the repatriated record label.[2]

In 2013, American label Captured Tracks announced plans for selected reissues of Flying Nun's back-catalogue.[3]

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, Shepherd was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the music industry.[4]

Roster, early 1980s to mid-1990s[edit]

Roster from the mid-1990s[edit]

Since the mid-1990s many of the original stable of artists have split up or moved to other labels, including Xpressway Records (Port Chalmers, New Zealand), Arch Hill Recordings (Auckland), Powertool Records (Auckland), South Indies, Paris or Matador Records (United States). A similarly eclectic new generation of bands is signed to Flying Nun, including:


Flying Nun also released compilations of a cross-section of its artists. These are now the only easy-to-find documents of certain featured artists.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bannister, M. (1999). Positively George Street. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0704-5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McNeilly, Hamish (23 December 2009). "Founder re-acquires Flying Nun after ten years". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  2. ^ Hume, Tim (21 February 2010). "Finn helps finance rebirth of Flying Nunn cult record label". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Flying Nun to partner with Captured Tracks". 2013. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  4. ^ McDonald, Liz (4 June 2018). "Anti-establishment Flying Nun founder just wanted to get music on the record". The Press. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Various – Roger Sings the Hits". Discogs.

External links[edit]