Sunday, December 10, 2023

Local success at Smokefreerockquest

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Minimal Silence: From left Logan Anderson, Sabastian Munro and Mark Tohovaka. Photo supplied

Three piece punk rock band Minimal Silence from Howick College took out the Manukau regional final of Smokefreerockquest for the second year running, at the Dorothy Winstone Centre at AGGS on Friday night.

Bass player and vocalist Logan Anderson said the boys are determined to get to the national final this year, and he said their experience is paying off.

“Performing on stage is so different from practising – you’re a lot tighter and you really get to know each other on stage,” he said. We have a real connection with our songs about the ups and downs of teenage life.”

The other members of Minimal Silence are Sabastian Munro (lead guitar) and Mark Tohovaka (drums).

Haze from St Kentigern College came second, with band members Ethan Jupe (lead guitar) Christina Middelbeek-Harrison (vocals), Jayden Welsh (drums), Thomas Mills (bass) and Thomas Hyland (rhythm guitar).

These two bands win musical gear from associate sponsor NZ Rockshops and their suppliers. They now submit 15 minutes of their best material for selection as national finalists, along with the top two from North Shore and Auckland Central, as well as other regions around new Zealand.

Founder and director Pete Rainey said from here on the Manukau finalists would have to be well organised and work hard to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.

“They have to submit video footage of their original music that will be judged in August as we lead up to the national final,” he said. “This process not only demands musical ability and creativity, they also learn to work together as a group and to develop the organisation and promotional skills they’ll need if they’re going to make it on the Kiwi music scene.”

The full list of awards made on Friday night was:
Band 1st: Minimal Silence, Howick College Band 2nd: Haze, St Kentigern College Band 3rd: Deez Coconuts, Manurewa High School APRA Lyric Award: Kieran Jepson, Waiuku College Lowdown Best Song: Blessed, Manurewa High School The Mainz Musicianship Award: Mark Tohovaka the drummer from Minimal Silence, Howick College Smokefree Vocals Award: Criss Papau, Effectively, Mangere College People’s Choice voted by text: Dm7, Ormiston Senior College


On Saturday the Dorothy Winstone Centre was back in business for the Auckland Smokefree Pacifica Beats regional heats.
Makayla & Lakem, Manurewa High School classmates Makayla Eli and Lakem Vuna, took first place with their soul-R&B sound.

The singing duo is backed by Makayla on guitar, and describe their winning tune as a typical cheesey love song.

“We sounded a bit different (from the others) with our faster more upbeat guitar backing,” Makayla said. “We incorporated Maori and English in the rhymes of our song and included a mini rap section.”

Skylah (Hewett) from Papatoetoe High School placed second. These two acts now put 15 mins of their best material together to submit for selection as Smokefree Pacifica Beats national finalists; up against entrants from around the country who have competed in their own regions, via the sister event Smokefreerockquest.

The 12 bands selected to go on to Smokefree Pacifica Beats regional final are:
Deez Coconuts, Manurewa High School
S.P.A.M, Massey High School
2KTA, Kaipara College
Cadex, Pukekohe High School
Blessed, Manurewa High School
Tribe 801, Wesley College
Lost Groovement, Mt Albert Grammar
26 High Streeters, McAuley High School
Majesty 8, Alfriston College
Rhythm & Vibes, One Tree Hill College
Totara 441, TKKM o Hoani Waititi
Jubilee, Aorere College

These 12 bands will go on to play off for the top two places and other awards at the Auckland Smokefree Pacifica Beats final at at Dorothy Winstone Centre at Auckland Girls Grammar School  next weekend on Saturday  24 June at 7pm.Tickets are available from, $20 adults, $10 students.

The regional events for both Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats run from May 12 until July 7, with the top regional bands and solo/duos submitting video footage for selection to play off at the Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final on Friday September 1 at the Dorothy Winstone  Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 2 $20 adult & $10 student.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that include Rockshop vouchers, a NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’, the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the Smokefree Mana Wahine Award, the Te Reo Award, the New Zealand Music Commission Best Song Award and the Smokefree Vocals Award.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats standout successes include Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.

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