Fifteen Northland school music acts are one step closer to stardom after success at the regional heat of the Smokefreerockquest competition.

On Sunday 13, bands and eight solo acts or duos took part in the Smokefreerockquest Northland regional heat and another 17 acts competed in the Smokefree Tangata Beats heat held at Tikipunga High School.

From there, the top 12 bands were selected for the Smokefreerockquest regional final at Forum North on June 11, and the top two Northland solo/duo acts go ahead to the event's national final.

The top solo duos were North American Smile, made up of Soraya Hurrell and Cuchulainn Howard, from Whangārei Girls' High School and Huanui College, who came first, and Tiare and Waiwai's (Tiare Lanigan and Te Waimarino Aniwa Tait), from Taipa Area School.


Judge Matthew Warman, from the band Midnight Youth, said Northland was strong in both the Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats sections.

"Today we saw some fantastic talent," Warman said.

"Getting up on stage to play a piece of music you have put together yourself is a brave thing to do. It is great to see all the hard work pay off for these young musicians."

The top 12 bands to play off at the regional final at Forum North on June 11, from 7pm are:

Elevated, from Rodney College and Mahurangi College; Stranger Paradise, Kerikeri High School, Springbank School; SubDeer, Bream Bay College; Wham Bam Thank you Ma'am, Whangārei Girls' High School; Live Wire, Mahurangi College; The psychedelic goldfish, Whangārei Boys' High School, Whangārei Girls' High School; The Steves - Kerikeri High School; Pahi State of Mind - Otamatea High School; Limerence, Tauraroa Area School, Jeeks, Bream Bay College; Daisynuke, Kamo High School and Zelama, Bream Bay College.

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Ni Myself and I, from Te Kura Taumata o Panguru, who now submit footage to be selected for that event's national final, while the award for the band category went to Radiance, from Bay of Islands College.

Smokefreerockquest founder and director Pete Rainey said while the rockquest was a competition, the environment throughout the nationwide series of events was hugely supportive, and the emphasis was on participation.

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


"The solo-duo acts going into the video submission round, and the bands going into their regional final, will need to practise hard, and make good use of networking opportunities and social media to promote themselves and their achievements. For a lot of students, these steps can be part of their NCEA assessments."

At the Northland final there will be awards for the top three bands: the MAINZ Musicianship Award, Best Song, Best Vocal, APRA Lyrics Award, and the ZM People's Choice voted by text.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland on September 14. The Smokefree Tangata Beats national final is on September 21.

One of the most successful bands to emerge from a previous competition is Northland's Alien Weaponry, which won Smokefreerockquest and Tangata Beats, and is currently on tour in Europe and making major headway around the world.