T. T. R. U. from Rotorua Boys' High School will battle it out for top honours in an iconic competition that has launched the career of many talented Kiwi musos.

In its 23rd year Smokefree Tangata Beats has helped legendary acts which include The Spacifix, Aaradhna and Te Reo metal band Alien Weaponry.

Smokefree Tangata Beats is run alongside Smokefreerockquest with a focus on the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific. Entrants are encouraged to explore and celebrate the ways in which identity and culture is woven into the contemporary music they are writing.

Regional judge Seth Haapu said the finalists ''represent an inspired and thriving generation of rangatahi, who draw from their unique cultural identity to uplift and inspire others in extraordinary times''.

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T. T. R. U. would now go head to head with six other bands and three solo-duos.

Band members included Te Ara Pounamu Pukeroa (acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Uale Lefaoseu (vocals), Terrence Katipa (vocals), Totorewa Malcolm (vocals), Whareporera Hare-Herbert (bass).

Due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings in place earlier this year, the competition went online with acts submitting video entries.

The national finalists would perform live at the National Final Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Auckland on September 11.

The winners' prize packages includes $5,500 in Rockshop vouchers, an $8,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, Best Musicianship Award Smokefree Mana Wahine Award, Smokefree Best Vocals Award, APRA Lyric Writers Award, NZ Music Commission Best Song Award, Reo Award.

Top seven Smokefree Tangata Beats bands:
* The Pig Hunters - Te Tai Tokerau / Northland (Taipa Area School)
* Jam and Jelly - Manukau (Papatoetoe High School)
* T. T. R. U. - Rotorua (Rotorua Boys High School)
* 2K Rhythm - Te Tai Rawhiti / East Coast (Tolaga Bay Area School)
* Authentic - Manukau (Alfriston College)
* Red Wave - Manukau (Aorere College)
* Sixth Sense - Te Tai Rawhiti / East Coast (Gisborne Girls' High School)

Top three solo-duos:
* Praize - Manukau (Manurewa High School)
* Imani-J - Whakatū / Nelson (Nelson College For Girls)
* Le Treal Ross - Taranaki (New Plymouth Boys' High School)