First-time Smokefreerockquest performers from Mount Maunganui College have rocked their way to regional finals.

Mount Maunganui musicians Oscar Kelly, Jesse Chettleburgh and Nathan Cowdrey are part of the top 12 bands selected to perform in the regional finals at the Totara Street Performing Arts Centre on June 29.

The bands earned their spots in the regional heats at ASB Baypark on Saturday.

Nathan Cowdrey, 16, said his band Elevar played its original song titled House of Glass in the regional heats for the first time.

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"We made it up in one day and rehearsed it for one-and-a-half weeks," he said.

Jesse, 14, and Oscar, 13, from the band Vegan Funk Machine were happy to have made it to the next round after performing for the first time in the Smokefreerockquest.

"I was quite surprised," Jesse said. "I didn't expect it, it was our first time in the competition."

Katikati College student Louie Campbell won the region's solo/duo category, while fellow Katikati College student Bree Rose and Max Harvey from Rotorua Boys' High School placed second equal.

Louie was the frontman in the 2018 third place national winning metal band Silvera and returned this year to perform an acoustic song.

"The environment I was in at that moment inspired the song," Louie said.

"It is about autumn and how the leaves falling off trees and dying is a necessary part of the circle of life."

The top regional bands and solo/duo finalists will now submit video footage to be judged for selection in the national finals.

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The Smokefreerockquest national final is at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre on September 14 and the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final is at the Vodafone Events Centre on September 21.

Event founder and director Pete Rainey said while Smokefreerockquest was a competition, the nationwide series of events had an emphasis on participation.

"The work participants will put in to prepare for the next stage between now and the regional final is a big part of what make Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats such valuable learning experiences," he said.

Bay of Plenty regional finalists

Canvas- Mount Maunganui College, Papamoa College, Tauranga Girls' College
Vegan Funk Machine - Mount Maunganui College
Good Morning Good Night - Mount Maunganui College, Mount Maunganui Intermediate
Hurley caught a rat - Mount Maunganui College
Elevar - Mount Maunganui College
Delta - Otumoetai College
Suds - Otumoetai College
Bird House - Otumoetai College
Saint Klaed's Computer - Otumoetai College
M.O.M. - Taupo-nui-a-Tia College
Drop Dee - Tauranga Boys' College
Rift - Bethlehem College