Critical Theory of Napier Boys' High School took top spot at the Hawke's Bay regional final of Smokefree Rockquest on Saturday night .

A crowd of 400 filled Napier Municipal Theatre to watch the bands battle it out.

The speed-funk five piece lead singer Oli Cook put their win down to hours of practice, their stage presence and "feeding off the mosh pit".

"We had lots of band practice building up to the finals. We thrive off the audience and the adrenaline is just awesome," he said.


"Our energy went through the roof tonight and we went out there and nailed it."

Other band members were Felix Landon on drums, Sam Purdy on synthesiser, Joe Cornes on guitar and Ben Cornes on bass.

Coming in at second place was four-person band Headlock, from Havelock North High School.

Band members, Matthew Nisbet on rhythm guitar, lead guitarist, Tom Smith, Hugh McKendrey on drums and bass player, Liam Max-Phelan, took away winnings of musical gear from associate sponsor New Zealand Rockshops as did Critical Theory.

Both bands also get the chance to submit 15 minutes of their best material for selection as national finalists.

Taradale High School's Mia Sohnge who placed first in Hawke's Bay's solo-duo section at regional heats last month and band, Power Plug's member's, Jake Dunn and Hayden Robertson from St John's College who placed second in that category also have the opportunity to submit material.

Founder and director Glenn Common said Hawke's Bay finalists would now have to work hard to make the most of the opportunity they had been offered.

"They have to submit video footage of their original music that will be judged in August as we lead up to the national final," he said.

"This process not only demands musical ability and creativity, they also learn to work together as a group and to develop the organisation and promotional skills they'll need if they're going to make it on the Kiwi music scene."

The regional events for Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica beats run from May 13 until July 2, with the Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final on September 23 in Auckland, followed by the Smokefree Rockquest national on September 24.

Smokefree Rockquest are offering national winners' prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners including $22,000 of Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air recording, a video and promotional package and a Decent Exposure campaign on The Edge TV.

A photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends are also included.

What you need to know?

* Smokefree Rockquest has been going for 27 years.

* It is New Zealand's only nationwide, live, original music, youth event and provides young musicians with the opportunity to perform live in a professional setting.

* Powered by Rockshop the concert aims to motivate young musicians to prove their abilities and realise the opportunities available in music careers.

* This year, people were asked to think about the benefits of being smokefree and get more involved in helping New Zealand become smokefree by 2025.

* For more information visit Smokefree