Masterton Intermediate School performers have seized glory at the 20th annual Wellington regional intermediate schools Battle of the Bands contest.

Music teacher Elton Halford, who has been taking MIS bands to the competition for the past 15 years, said school octet Absolute Chaos captured second place overall at the contest while band guitarist Caitlyn O'Neale, 13, took top honours as best guitarist.

Miss O'Neale took the same prize at the contest last year playing an acoustic guitar.

Postgate School, as winners of the 2013 contest, on Tuesday hosted the annual event, which featured competing acts from 24 schools throughout the wider Wellington region, including a band apiece from Lakeview School in Masterton and Greytown School.


The MIS band covered Joan Jett's I Love Rock'N'Roll and Boulevard of Broken Dreams from Green Day in its winning set, Mr Halford said, after taking to the stage wearing leather and denim in a grunge punk style developed with help from school design and technology teacher, Angela Ternant-James.

He said auditions had been held for the band several weeks into the first term this year and the eight members entered the annual contest as a covers band.

Mr Halford, who has founded and played in numerous bands through a long professional career while also teaching music at Wairarapa and Rathkeale colleges, was as enthusiastic about the Battle of the Bands competition as he was when he first accompanied an MIS band to the contest in 2000.

"There were nine bands the first time I went and the number of bands peaked at 28 last year, and that's from over the entire Wellington region.

"It's a good stepping stone for some of these kids who carry on with music at college.

"They can go on after already having an experience of a big stage with a professional lighting and sound system, and if they want to take it further then Rockquest is the next step for them."

Successful Wairarapa college bands such as Vacant City started out in Battle of the Bands and had this year taken the Best Song award as national Rockquest finalists after entering the senior grade contest as three-time Wairarapa regional heat winners and top 30 national place-getters, he said.

Professional Masterton entertainer Cruize Karaitiana had likewise performed with a Battle of the Bands regional contest-winning MIS band during his time at the Masterton school, Mr Halford said.


"I've had the pleasure to work with a lot of these young musicians who carried on to careers in music, and it's always very rewarding for me as a tutor to know I helped pass on the passion."

A four-judge panel decided the winners on the day and the second place-getting MIS band and winning guitarist were also given vouchers from long-time sponsors Music Warehouse in Lower Hutt.

A video of the winning performance will be played next week for fellow MIS pupils at a special assembly with a trophy to be presented to the principal.