Last Tuesday's Manawatu Regional Rockshop Bandquest, held in The Globe Theatre in Palmerston North, was won by a band from Rutherford Junior High, 8 Melodies Pt 2.
The eight-member group won a $400 Rockshop voucher for their school and the chance to enter the national finals later this year.
And last year's winning drummer did it again this year — Mason Maraku of 8 Melodies Pt 2.
Mason has special needs and has funding allocated by the Ministry of Education.
He is also the only member of last year's original 8 Melodies, which won their regionals in the competition held in Hawke's Bay and were placed third in the nationals.
"This year they went to the Manawatu regionals, between Whanganui, Manawatu and Taranaki, and we came first," says Diane Henare, proud Rutherford principal.
"The competition was of a very high standard, so it was good to see our kids win," says board of trustees chairman Piripi Blake.
He says their style of music is Pasific Reggae, a description confirmed by band tutor and Rutherford choir director Jordan Maraku.
"Jordan has done a lot of work with them to get them to that point," says Diane. "Given the size of our school, to win that was no easy feat."
Bands performed for a maximum of six minutes and songs could be originals or covers. 8 Melodies performed No Other Love by Common Kings. Midweek was treated to a live rendition.
Arapera Herewini (vocals), Matia Vibote (vocals), Danica Baleinukulala (vocals), Tori Maraku (bass guitar), Osharn Rerekura (guitar), Charis Matthews (keyboard), Mason Maraku (drums) and Tee-Jay Edwards (keyboard) are 8 Melodies Pt 2.
For the national competition they have to produce a video of them performing and send it to the adjudicators.
It will be an adjusted version of No Other Love.
"What they won, as well as a $400 voucher from Rockshop, was a free recording session at The Stomach in Palmerston North," says Jordan.
As a bonus, Rutherford Junior High School Choir received the award for the best choir soloist at the Manawatu-Whanganui Kids Sing held at the Prince Edward Auditorium at Whanganui Collegiate on August 29. Six choirs from the Whanganui area took part with four choirs from the Manawatu.