Two Northland high school acts are in with a chance of making the national final of the Smokefreerockquest from more than 700 nationwide that entered the country's premier youth music competition.

The shortlist, made up of the top 20 bands and top 10 solo artists/duos, has been released and Alien Weaponry, made up of members from Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School, and Izaia Tilialo from Kamo High School and Huia Shortland from Te Kapehu Whetu, are there bidding for a place in the national final in Auckland.

Huia Shortland, of Te Kapehu Whetu and Izaia Tilialo from Kamo High School are on the shortlist.
Huia Shortland, of Te Kapehu Whetu and Izaia Tilialo from Kamo High School are on the shortlist.

The 30 acts will be further narrowed down by a panel of judges from the music industry, and on Monday there will be an announcement of the final five bands and three solo-duos to play off at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls' Grammar on Saturday, September 24.

The 22 acts not in the final selection then become contenders for the People's Choice, with the winner voted in as the ninth act in the national final.

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Alien Weaponry - a three-piece metal band comprising brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals, 16), Henry de Jong (drums, 14) and Ethan Trembath (bass, 14) - placed second last year at the national finals of both Smokefreerockquest and Pacifica Beats. They won the Northland final in May to earn the right to compete in the national final. Izaia and Huia were judged the top duo in the Northland finals.

Rockquest Charitable Trust chairman Matt Ealand said it was great to see the spread of finalists across every one of the regions this year.