Jon Toogood, musician. Photographed by Mark Smith.

Top Spot: Jon Toogood, musician


Jon Toogood fronts the iconic Kiwi band Shihad as guitarist and vocalist. He shares his favourite place to visit in New Zealand, and his plans for touring Aotearoa this summer.

“This year has been challenging – like life dialled up to 11! We had a flood that took out my home studio, wars, a crazy economy and a divisive election. At the same time, we got our kids into a school they love and we became part of great community in central Tāmaki Makaurau. Also, I've written some of the best songs I’ve ever written.

Over the summer I’m performing some live shows and putting some finishing touches on my first ever solo album. I also hope to spend time with the family, making comics with my son Yahia, reading books with my daughter Yasmin and teaching her how to ride a bike.

Jon Toogood, Shihad frontman

Jon Toogood, Shihad frontman. Photography by Mark Smith.

I spend most of my working life away from my whānau so when it comes time for holidays it’s always based around them. On holiday I relax as much as anyone can with an eight-year-old and a five-year-old running round. I like to read, swim, check out the sights and, most importantly, eat!

We’ve recently discovered Hahei, on the Coromandel, and plan to head down there late January for a family holiday (and I might play a sneaky solo show too!)

Hahei is one of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion.

It’s special because when we first moved back to New Zealand from Australia two years ago, we were all burnt out and friends invited us down there. It was the most relaxing and reinvigorating trip I’d had in years. I spent most of the time in the ocean just taking in the breathtaking views and being thankful for being alive.”

As well as solo shows over the summer, Jon Toogood will also be playing Shihad’s first album Churn live with Shihad at the ’Save The b’ benefit concert at the Auckland Town Hall on 20 December.


Story by Kathryn Webster for the Summer 2023 issue of AA Directions Magazine. Kathryn Webster is the Editor of AA Directions Magazine.

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