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Rotorua final results

SMOKEFREE PACIFICA BEATS 2014 - Rotorua final results

The reggae rock sound of their nine piece band put Open Arms from Rotorua Boys High School in first place at this year’s regional Smokefree Pacifica Beats final at the Convention Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Open Arms lead singer Tawhirimatea Witoko says their win was a surprise but also a big relief.

“I think we really connected with the audience - we danced and I joked with them so they listened to our sound,” he says. “We worked so hard and we were confident in our performance.”

With nine band members, many of them involved with either Kapa Haka or rugby, getting together for practices wasn’t always easy. However, Tawhirimatea says they believed it wasn’t the number of practices they had but what they put in to them that mattered.

The other members of Open Arms are Terence Apiata (bass), Arapeta Paea (vocals), Wirihana Te Rangi (vocals), Te Hakaraia Wilson (vocals), Tuariki Brown (lead guitar), Lacey Kim (keyboard), Te Tahu Kingi (rhythm guitar), AJ Moke (drums).

Second place went to the duo Georgia and Harvey from Rotorua Lakes High School, who are Georgia Stiles and Harvey Klutman.

These bands win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and the opportunity to gain selection for the national final at Auckland’s Q Theatre on Friday 26 September.

Smokefree Pacifica Beats producer Elena Lome says the Rotorua finalists have to complete a number of tasks to make the most of the opportunity the event offers.

“We ask them to create a band page on Facebook, write up a media release, create a band bio and a short video about themselves that we use in the judging as we lead up to the national final,” she said. “The aim is to give them an insight into management and promotional aspects of being a band that they’ll need to be successful.”

Smokefree Pacifica Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific, with bands required to have some Maori or Pacific Island elements in their music or performance.

When all regional heats and finals are complete, the top two bands from each region submit video footage for selection as national finalists to play off in Auckland on 26 September.

The top six Smokefree Pacifica Beats finalists are invited to Auckland for a weekend of music, friendship, mentoring and culture at the noho marae (band camp) held at Horotiu Marae, AUT (Auckland University of Technology.

The SFPB national winners’ prize package includes musical gear to a total value of $3,000 from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers, a $10,000 song and video package from NZ On Air and performance spots at the 2015 Raggamuffin and Pasifika Festivals. There is also musical equipment from NZ Rockshops, the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Songwriters Award, the Native Language Award, the Smokefree Mana Wahine Award, the Stage Image Award and the Smokefree Best Vocals Award.

The full list of awards made on Saturday was:

1st place: Open Arms from Rotorua Boys High School

2nd place: Georgia & Harvey from Rotorua Lakes High School

Recorded Music Best Solo/Duo Award: Huiarau from Te Wharekura o Huiarau

APRA Songwriters Award: Lyric3 from Western Heights High School

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: Terence Apiata, bass player for Open Arms, Rotorua Boys High School.

Smokefree Award For Mana Wahine: Rangimarie from Rotorua Lakes High School

Smokefree Award For Best Vocals: Tawhirimatea Witoko and Arapeta Paea from Open Arms, Rotorua Boys High School

YPT Native Language Award: Shades from Reporoa College

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