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Manukau & North Shore Smokefreerockquest 2012 results

Media Release Manukau & North Shore Smokefreerockquest 2012 results

It was a big weekend in Auckland for youth music as the top youth bands in Manukau and North Shore played off in their Smokefreerockquest 2012 regional finals.

The three-piece acoustic alt rock band, Greatwhitebuffalo from Pakuranga College, won the Smokefreerockquest Manukau regional final on Friday night at the Telstraclear Pacific Centre.

Lead singer Nicole Hedder puts their success down to their fresh sound.

“We are a pared down string band,“ she said. “Last year I entered with Alex Pipes on guitar as an acoustic duo, but this year we added Alec Li on violin and I think our music really stood out.”

Nicole’s father played jazz and she says she had music ingrained in her from a young age. She takes her music very seriously and says it will always be part of her life.

The name, Greatwhitebuffalo came about as Alex was filling out the Smokefreerockquest entry form. Nicole says he had five minutes to come up with something and after some texting back and forth, he thought of ‘this random name’.

Second place went to A Reflection of Yesterday from Alfriston College, a five piece made up of Josh Wrightson on drums, Robin Ludlam lead guitar, Fraser Harvey on rhythm guitar, Nathan Haliday lead vocals and John White on bass.

On Saturday night it was a case of déjà vu when Get Off the Grass from Rangitoto College won the North Shore final at the Bruce Mason Centre.

The four-piece band won the regional event last year and also made it through to the 2011 national final in Hamilton. On Saturday night the boys wore the same clothes they performed in last year and lead singer, Julius Hattingh is hoping it will be third time lucky for the group this year.
“It’s the third time we’ve entered Smokefreerockquest and we’ve learned to be more professional, more consistent and meticulous since last year,” Julius says, “and we also have a more classical influence now.”

The group has been playing together for several years and they are all in their school’s choir, big band and orchestra. Julius says they’ve also recently taken up playing brass instruments: “We are influenced by so many things and I think it’s helped us develop more depth to our music.”

The other members of Get off the Grass are Alex Estrin on drums, Matt Neale on bass and Flynn Roser, rhythm guitar.

Second place went to Heroes for Sale from Green Bay High School made up of Adison Whitley, lead vocals and guitar and Fraser Hunter, drums and vocals.

These four bands win musical gear from associate sponsor NZ Rockshops and join Auckland Central finalists Young & Reckless, We are the Pirates, The Teleprompters and Vivid for finals judging. The next step for them is sending in a video for selection as one of the eight bands to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final at Claudelands in Hamilton on 22 September.

Rockquest Promotions Founders and Directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey said from here on the Auckland region finalists would have to work hard and draw on their creativity to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.

“In August judges will be selecting the eight finalists from DVDs of their own original music,” Common said. “There are a range of skills they’ll need to pull this together – creativity and musical ability are important, but they also learn to work together as a group and have to be well organised to produce the video footage that could be their next step towards Kiwi music success.”

The eight national finalists will be selected from videos sent in by first and second place-getters from each of the 24 regional finals, and bands from Rockshop Second Chance, an opportunity for established bands who feel they didn’t play at their best on the night.

Smokefreerockquest powered by Rockshop, has a prize package that includes musical gear to the value of $10,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a NZ On Air new recording and music video grant worth over $10,000, a place on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, a radio promotional support for a single, and video play on youth music channel FOUR. There is also the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship Award and the Skinny People’s Choice, voted by text, with the opportunity to open at the SFRQ National final.

Other regional awards made on Friday and Saturday night:

Third place winning musical gear from associate sponsor NZ Rockshops and their suppliers:
Manukau: Harry Ray Jones from Papatoetoe High School
North Shore: The Whodunnits from Long Bay College and Westlake Boys’ High School

APRA Lyric Award:
Manukau: Nathan Haliday, A Reflection of Yesterday from Alfriston College
North Shore: Hannah Horsfield from Kaipara College

Lowdown Best Song:
Manukau: Harry Ray Jones from Papatoetoe High School
North Shore: ‘Hold Me Down’ by Scamp and Yeah from Rangitoto College

The Mainz Musicianship Award with the opportunity to be selected for the $4500 Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand Scholarship, announced at the national final:
Manukau: Josh Wrightson, drummer from A Reflection of Yesterday, Alfriston College
North Shore: Fraser Hunter, drummer from Heroes for Sale, Green Bay High School

Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship:
Manukau: Nicole Hedder from Greatwhitebuffalo, Pakuranga College
North Shore: Hannah Horsfield from Kaipara College

Skinny People’s Choice voted by text:
Manukau: Kingdoms Collapse from Alfriston College
North Shore: Heroes for Sale from Green Bay High School

To find out more about Smokefreerockquest 2012, visit the official website

Smokefreerockquest – 24 years of musical success
Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, original music, youth event. Now well into its third decade, the series of over 40 events reaches audiences from Whangarei to Invercargill. Founded in 1988 by music teachers Glenn Common and Pete Rainey, who now run Rockquest Promotions full time out of Nelson, Smokefreerockquest has become a New Zealand institution.
Smokefreerockquest 2012 powered by Rockshop aims to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise the heights they can reach in their music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100% original New Zealand music. For more information visit

Hall of Fame
Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 24-year history include Kimbra, Midnight Youth, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Minuit, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Pistol Youth, Annah Mac, Bang!Bang!Eche!, Ivy Lies, Cairo Knife Fight, Cut Off Your Hands, Luke Thompson, the Datsuns, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington, The Electric Confectionaires, Steriogram, Aaradhna, Spacifix, Phoenix Foundation, The Feelers, The Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, The Checks, Julia Deans, Pine, King Kapisi, Kingston, The Naked and Famous, Autozamm and Elemeno P.

Smokefree’s Smoking Not Our Future Campaign
Research from HSC shows that 94 percent of all young people have seen the Smoking Not OurFuture initiative and that Smokefreerockquest plays a large part in getting its key messages and its celebrities in front of young people. Smokefree has been the naming rights sponsor of Smokefreerockquest for 22 of its 24 years and this longstanding partnership between the two agencies has been mutually beneficial. Smokefree is able to deliver its messages to large numbers of secondary school students attending the regional events. While participants in the event areprovided with connections to their schools and communities and develop skills and aspirations, which will help create the future musical stars of New Zealand. For more information visit


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