North acts make it into Pacifica Beats finals

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Huia and Zaia are one of two Northland acts to make it to the final of the Smokefree Pacifica Beats.
Huia and Zaia are one of two Northland acts to make it to the final of the Smokefree Pacifica Beats.

Two Northland high school acts are among the nine national finalists for the Smokefree Pacifica Beats 2016 award.

Musical ability, stage energy and Maori or Pacifica cultural elements have taken nine high school musical acts to the finals of New Zealand's only live, nationwide, original music youth contest with a Pacifica twist.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand, with entrants required to have Maori/Polynesian language, instruments, dance or movement in their performance. This year there were 90 entries competing from Whangarei to Christchurch, and also entrants who attended mentoring workshops in Whangarei, Gisborne and Christchurch.

Northland band Alien Weaponry and duo Huia and Zaia have made it into the national final, on September 23 at the Raye Freedman Centre in Auckland.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats has an impressive list of successes, most notably Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand group to have 10 singles all go gold or platinum.

The prizes from the national final include a $10,000 NZ on Air song and video recording package, $4500 in musical equipment from NZ Rockshops, the Mainz $4800 Musicianship Scholarship; and cash prizes for the top solo duo, Smokefree Mana Wahine, best vocals, Apra lyrics award, NZ Music Commission best song and the native reo award.

Alien Weaponry is a three-piece metal band with kapa haka influences from Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School. The members are brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals) and Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass). The band is also in the Smokefreerockquest finals, which will be held at the same venue on September 24.

Huia and Zaia are cousins from Whangarei who won the Smokefreerockquest solo-duo title for Northland. Izaia Tilialo does Correspondence School and Huia Shortland is from Te Kapehu Whetu Teina. They have been singing and playing guitar together for two years.

- Northern Advocate

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