Whanganui Intermediate School's band of "true rock stars" has taken out this year's national final of Rockshop Bandquest.

Singers joined the R & B/reggae band, 2K16, at the beginning of the third term and its members recorded their winning entry late last month.

"We sang a reggae version of Hello by Adele and Hair by Little Mix," said vocalist Keisha Maniapoto.

Their music teacher, Ros Armstrong, said they needed to borrow the gear they used to record their online entry, so the prize - $3000 worth of gear for their school's music department - would make a real difference.

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Last week, the ten Year 7 and 8 students found out they had won the online section of the contest, and that drummer Jonathan Stolk had won the Musicianship Award, while AJ Malili-Malo-Lauano and Mia Maraku took out the Best Keyboardist Award.

Then, on Wednesday, they were told their entry had won the national final, beating out competition from 12 live events and the online contest for bands from outlying regions.

Jonathan said: "It was a great opportunity - making music with all these great musicians and doing the things that I love."

Auckland singer-songwriter Jamie McDell, one of this year's judges, described the band as "true rock stars".

"I really loved the fact that 2K16 put a lot of effort into making these songs their own," she said.

Keisha said the band had a lot of help from mentor Jordan Maraku, whose daughter is in 2K16.

Now in its sixth year, Rockshop Bandquest involves bands from intermediate and primary schools throughout New Zealand. They perform a short set of covers or original songs.
The band's winning entry is on YouTube. Search for "WIS band 2K16".

Photo: From left, mentor Jordan Maraku, Theo Almazan (ukulele), Jonathan Stolk (drums), Tomas Bidgood (bass), Paiki Johnson-Rio (guitar), mascot Gio Maraku, Mia Maraku (keyboard), Porourangi Manuel (vocals), music teacher Ros Armstrong, and vocalists Keisha Maniapoto, Te Awa Te Huna and Sophia 'Unga-Cribb . Absent was AJ Malili-Malo-Lauano (keyboard). PHOTO/STUART MUNRO