|Full Address||New Zealand, Te Awamutu, 588 Teasdale Street|
The Finn family lived at 78 Teasdale Street (now renumbered to 588 Teasdale Street) which has been converted into a Resthome.
Parents Mary and Dick raised four children Tim, Neil and two sisters (Carolyn & Judy). Both boys were born at Wharenoho (previously a maternity hospital) in Wallace Terrace, coincidentally also now a Resthome called “Avoca”.
Both boys had their primary school education at St. Patrick’s, Alexandra Street, then attended Sacred Heart in Auckland. Tim won a scholarship for Sacred Heart but Neil, who did not like boarding school, returned to Te Awamutu College.
Music had always been an important part of the family’s life, with lots of evenings around the piano, where the boys were encouraged to perform.
It was whilst he was at Sacred Heart, that Tim spent a lot of time joining small groups with different friends, and it was here that Split Enz formed. Tim’s pre Split Enz band, but with some founding members, came second at The Sound Out 72 Talent quest held at the Te Awamutu Racecourse. In December of 1972, they played their first professional performance at Wynyard Hotel in Auckland, followed by an appearance the same night, at Levis Saloon in Customs Street.
Then came their first chance of playing in front of a large crowd at the Great Ngaruawahia Festival. An art band opening for a heavy metallers Black Sabbath was not a good career move and the crowd weren’t madly impressed. In fact Split Enz were booed from the stage. But the boys weren’t deterred and worked very hard to improve their music and their image.
In 1975, came the name change to ‘Split Enz’. They entered in to a talent quest show “New Faces”, which brought them to the attention of the TV public. The rest, as the saying goes, is history!
They travelled to Australia and the UK, where the band started having a few problems, both personal and professional. Neil Finn was asked to join them as the lead guitarist, a good choice as he was their biggest fan and knew their style. Then came their first chance of playing in front of a large crowd at the Great Ngaruawahia
Lack of money became a problem, and a one off grant from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council helped considerably, and their music and albums began to take off. It was all go.
By the end of 1984, Split Enz had indeed become one of New Zealand’s most famous exports! That year, Tim decided on a solo career, leaving Split Enz to move to London, producing successful albums, such as ‘Escapade’ and ‘Big Canoe’, followed by ‘Tim Finn’ in 1989 and four years later ‘Before and After’.
After the demise of Split Enz, Neil formed a band with Split Enz drummer Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. This was called ‘The Mullanes’ (a family name) and this group of course, became ‘Crowded House’.
In 1987, ‘Crowded House’ did a PR trip to Europe visiting 9 countries in two weeks, doing TV shows and interviews, plus a few acoustic gigs. This was followed by a 3 month tour in America that same year, where they charmed and entertained their way across the continent’s concert trail, and just took it all in their stride. Crowded House had made it.
Their first album ‘Crowded House’, was released in 1986, with their first single ‘Don’t Dream its Over’, reaching number two on the American charts. Also released, ‘Temple of Low Men’, ‘Wood Face’ and ‘Together Alone’ albums and finally in 1996, ‘Recurring Dreams’.
The final Crowded House concert, held on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, attracted over 250,000 enthusiastic followers and was truly a remarkable farewell to a popular group of musicians.
On December 19th 1998, Te Awamutu Museum opened a major exhibition celebrating the careers of Tim and Neil Finn called ‘True Colours’, occupying one third of the Museum’s display area. . The official reception was held in the Waipa District Council’s new building addition and the atmosphere was described as “electric”.
Tim and Neil played three of their popular numbers and spent a great deal of time afterwards signing autographs for their fans, some of whom had travelled long distances to be present.
Please note there is currently no permanent exhibition at the Museum, although a digital exhibit is available on request.