The judges of an inaugural talent quest that showcased some of Rotorua's young performers had a hard task picking the best.

But after much deliberation 16-year-old Promise Royal and the acapella group Rhodesia Boyz were named the winners of Rotorua's Matariki Star Search.

Hip-hop dancer Promyss Pitman won the People's Choice Award.

The final was held tonight at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.


The walls were lined with supporters as they packed in to watch and cheer on the 14 finalists.

The event had two categories - Performance and Nga mahi a Rehia.

First place was awarded in both categories and a People's Choice Award was decided by audience vote.

Acts included soulful singing, contemporary dances, funky group performances and even opera.

Kingi Biddle kept the audience entertained in between acts as the event's MC, often having the crowd in fits of laughter.

Nga Pumanawa e Waru's Mercia Yates said the event had been successful in showcasing young talent.

"It's been a great opportunity to partner with schools, the community and whanau.

"The packed auditorium is testament to the support our community has for our youth - it's not just mum and dad here tonight, it's the whole whanau."


She said for anyone doubting Rotorua's talent, the event had shown the mammoth talent to be discovered in the community.

Promise belted out the Etta James classic, At Last for her winning performance.

"I picked the song because I really like playing around with music, especially my voice, and I thought it was a good song to do that.

"I sing in front of audiences quite often but it's always special and I've really enjoyed the competition."

Promise said she was surprised to have made it to the finals after "seeing some of the raw talent in Rotorua".

"It's been a good experience and it's great for people looking to get more exposure."

Dancer Madelyn Skilton, 17, performed twice, once with group Dance the Magic, then again as a solo performer.

She said it was something the group had never done before and the experience had been great.

"We did it for a bit of fun and would consider doing it again.

"For the group dance we mixed funk, lyrical and pure jazz and because we have all danced together for so long, we have great energy and feed off the crowd participation. My solo act is contemporary and doing it individually gives me some more freedom and scope to try different things"