Northland high school band Co-lab is one of 30 bands nationally with a chance of making it through to the national final of the Smokefreerockquest next month after impressing the judges in the event.

Co-lab, made up of students from Whangarei Boys' High School and Kamo High School, won the Northland regional final last month.

Co-lab, along with second place getters Alien Weaponry, from Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School, and winning solo artist Emma Scott-Rankin, from Otamatea High School and runner-up Sepp Schmid from Kamo High School, then had to compete with regional winners and place getters from 23 areas for a spot in the national finals in September.

That number has now been whittled down to the top 30 - with Co-lab the only Northland act chosen - who still have a wait to see if they will be in the final six for the national final.


Co-lab is made up of Jimmy Kay, lead guitar; Austyn Mills, vocals, trumpet and keyboard; Jesse Samu, bass guitar; James Ross, drums; Josh Crawford, vocalist; and from KHS, Toban Taylor, rhythm guitar.

There were just on 700 entries in this year's only nationwide, original youth music event, with contenders going forward from 23 regions to send in their DVDs for selection to play off at the national final in Auckland on September 27.

"This event emphasises the whole package - songwriting, performance and presentation, which is realistic preparation for making a career in the music industry," Smokefreerockquest founder and director Glenn Common said.

If Co-lab reach the final, they will compete for prize packages for bands that include musical gear to a total value of $13,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers and a $10,000 recording/music video package from NZ on Air, radio promotional support and video play on youth music channel FOUR.