The competition that launched the likes of Kimbra, Ladyhawke and The Black Seeds returns for its regional final in Taupo next week.

The top youth bands and solo-duos from Rotorua and Taupo will play off at the Smokefreerockquest regional final at the Great Lake Centre on June 29.

First and second placed bands and solo-duos submit footage to be selected as finalists to play at the Smokefreerockquest national final on in Auckland on September 22 in as do the winners of the Smokefree Tangata Beats Award, for that event's national final on Friday September 21.

The live events run from May 5-July 6, and most regions are also being filmed for the popular webisodes,, fronted this year by Clarke Gayford.


Smokefreerockquest founder and director Glenn Common said the competition offered the entrants a platform for live performance that built on what they had learnt at school.

"The support that contemporary musicians get in schools these days and the framework provided by NCEA is evident in the number of young musicians that get to performance standard.

"Secondary school teachers offer tuition and encouragement, create space for bands and soloists to practise, they come along to support them at Smokefreerockquest and help them to get the most value from the experience of entering SFRQ – before, during and after."

Common said the professional performance environment offered by SFRQ included a stage set up with lights, sound, projection and technical support in a show that included a guest band, MC and lots of giveaways.

Fellow Smokefreerockquest director Pete Rainey said in regional cities the Smokefreerockquest final was often the year's biggest youth gig and 'a major influencer'.

"We're really proud that our association with Smokefree has been part of a huge social change in New Zealand over the past 28 years. It's absolutely a real thing that the number of young kids smoking has dropped and we're right behind the idea of making NZ Smokefree by 2025."

The regional final is at the Great Lake Centre in Taupo on Friday, June 29 at 7pm.

Tickets are $10 for school students and $15 for adults from Ticketek or at the door. The guest band is Auckland punk trio and 2017 SFRQ winners Minimal Silence.

Smokefreerockquest prize packages include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, a video and promo package, and a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends.

There is also the Musicianship Award, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, Fatboy Style Award, and the ZM People's Choice.

Competing bands:

Intervene Taupo-nui-a-Tia Coll, Western Heights HS, Reporoa Coll
Vital Approach - Western Heights High School
April-Rose Ellington - Tauhara College
Icy Fire - Rotorua Boys' High School
Threshold - Tauhara College
Samantha McCutchan - Taupo-nui-a-Tia College
2004 - Rotorua Boys' High School
Dom - Western Heights High School
In The Resource Room - Taupo-nui-a-Tia College
D5R3 - Rotorua Boys' High School
Michaela Pointon - Tauhara College
The Maoriteers - Western Heights Primary School, Western Heights High School
Messenger - Rotorua Boys' High School
Courtney Mayall - Tauhara College
Stage Fright - Western Heights High School
10 Inch Drums - Rotorua Boys' High School
Mineata Main - Tauhara College
Cherrysauce - Western Heights High School
Royales - Rotorua Boys' High School
Merci - Western Heights High School