Whakatane band Made Alive has made it to the Smokefree Rockquest finals.

The band, made up of Whakatane High School and Trident High School students Jalen Heberley, Bleyne Heberley, Johnny Murray, and Kauri Jackson will join 30 other acts who have made it through to the next stage in judging for the 2016 national final.

The group described themselves as a "four piece band with smashing grooves, smooth vocals and riffs so fat they should be on a diet."

There were just on 700 entries in this year's only nationwide original youth music event with regional finalists sending in their video footage for selection to play off at the national final in Auckland on September 24.


Kauri Jackson said it was a great feeling to be recognised amongst the top youth bands in the country.

"We are confident in our abilities but arts beauty is only in the eyes of the beholder so we weren't going to be disheartened if we didn't make it. It's a credit to the hours and hours of practising getting every beat "in the pocket" as we like to say."

He said they tried to deliver a mature sound which they felt the judges could relate to.

"Rather than having an individual member shine in our band we all pull together to bring a sound of unity."

Rockquest Charitable Trust chairman Matt Ealand said it was great to see the spread of finalists across every one of the regions where the event was held this year. He said the standard of musical performance kept going up year by year as young people were exposed to more music on social media and online.

"This makes it easier for them to emulate singers and bands who already making it on the musical scene - there are now role models not far removed from their own peer group," he said.

"Just looking at last year's Smokefree Rockquest finalists Eljay Hall's song Lights On is being heavily played on commercial radio, Ben Mollison is recording an EP and Courtney Hate is making waves on the alternative scene."

The top 30 finalists are made up of 20 bands and 10 solo-duos and will be further narrowed down by a panel of judges from the music industry to five bands and three solo-duos to play off the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar on Saturday September 24.

The 22 acts not in the final selection then become contenders for the People's Choice, with the winner of the voting campaign competing as the ninth act in national final.

The top 20 bands are:

Alien Weaponry, Bream Bay College, Northland

O-Boy! Kaipara College, North Shore

Daffodils, Western Springs College & Kristin School, Auckland

Nui Trio, Manurewa High School, Manukau

Tree Juice, Cambridge High School, Waikato

Half Eaten Pie,Te Awamutu College, Waikato

Made Alive, Whakatane High School & Trident High School, Bay of Plenty

AhJeez, Bethlehem College & Tauranga Boys College, Bay of Plenty

Kurawaka, TKKM O Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti & Gisborne Girls High School, East Coast

Suburban Goons, New Plymouth Boys' High School, Taranaki

Headlock, Havelock North High School, Hawkes Bay

Why Vibrations, Wanganui High School, Whanganui

Hymns & Her, Dannevirke High School, Manawatu

Retrospect, Onslow College, Wellington

Meraki, Marlborough Boys' College, Marlborough

The Hoard, Golden Bay High School, Nelson

Tetra, Nelson College for Girls, Nelson

Fuzhun, Shirley Boys' High School, Christchurch

Pseudo Sane, Geraldine High School, Timaru

Ceiling, Mt Aspiring College, Central Otago

Top ten solo/duos are:

Izaia and Huia, Kamo High School & Te Kapehu Whetu-Teina, Northland

Aimee Way, Kaipara College, North Shore

Iris G, Avondale College, Auckland

Two Imbue, Alfriston College, Manukau

Sonatane Kaufusi, Manurewa High School, Manukau

Mia, Taradale High School, Hawkes Bay

Kieran O'Connor, Garin College, Nelson

Cam Dawson, Garin College, Nelson

Keith and Cait, Burnside High School, Christchurch

Levi Dick, James Hargest College, Otago