It was a big night out for Whanganui High School (WHS) at the regional Smokefreerockquest final with the school sweeping all the but two placings and awards.

There was no stage fright for The Remnant, who took to the band category at the Opera House, to lead a clean sweep for WHS in what was their first time performing live.

Guitarist and vocalist Wiremu Rogan said the win came as a shock to him and band members Tokarārangi Poa, Cypress Kani-Hurinui, Josh Waitai and Chester Nevil.

"It was our first time playing live and we were really outside of our comfort zones playing in front of a big crowd like that," he said.


"We had practised lots, we were really committed and we all played as a team - our vocals and harmonies were really good.

"The audience was really supporting us and gave us lots of energy to play our best."

Rangitikei College duo Corby and Tia (Tia Wright and Te Kopiona Ratana) won the solo/duo section with Whanganui High School's Maia (Maia Falkner) in second place.

Runner-up in the band category was Whanganui High School's prog rock band Pantheon (Dan Goodwin, Kahu Miller, Daniel Hubers and Sebastian Alcayaga) with White Guys and Caleb completing and all-WHS podium.

Smokefreerockquest founder and director Glenn Common, who was in Whanganui for the regional final, said more bands than ever were reaching the standard required from national finalists.

"This means that real dedication is required to achieve the stand-out quality that the judges will be looking for," he said.

"They have to capture 15 minutes of their original material on video for selection as national finalists.

"It's a process that demands creativity and musical ability, being able to work together as a group and having good organisational skills. What separates them out is perseverance – industry success seldom happens overnight."

Rangitikei College duo Corby and Tia took out the solo/duo category.
Rangitikei College duo Corby and Tia took out the solo/duo category.

The four acts win musical gear from NZ Rockshop and join each other in the opportunity to gain selection for the national final in September.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 22 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland.

The Remnant also won the Tangata Beats Award and go into the selection process for the national finals of that event.

The full list of awards for Whanganui is:

Best band:

1st: The Remnant, Whanganui High School

2nd: Pantheon, Whanganui High School

3rd: White Guys and Caleb, Whanganui High School


1st: Corby and Tia, Rangitikei College

2nd: Maia, Wanganui High School

Smokefree Tangata Beats Award: The Remnant, Wanganui High School

ZM People's Choice: etc, etc ... Ruapehu College

Smokefree Best Vocals: The vocalists from The Remnant, Whanganui High School

MAINZ Musicianship: Imogen Maguire from Ferris, Whanganui High School

Best Song: The Zodiacs, Whanganui High School

Fatboy Style Award: Spicy, Whanganui High School

APRA Lyric Writers' Award: Tori Whibley and Imogen Maguire, Whanganui High School