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Smokefreerockquest national final results 2016

Ethan Trembath, Henry and Lewis de Jong. Photo credit Alex Hargreaves.

Northland metal band Alien Weaponry won this years’s Smokefreeroquest on Saturday night at Auckland’s Raye Freedman Centre, capping their win of Smokefree Pacifica Beats on Friday night. Auckland singer-songwriter Iris Guevarra was named Smokefreerockquest’s solo-duo section winner for 2016.

The judges were Jeff Newton from NZ on Air, Edge Musical Director Reagan White, Dave Munro from Eccles Entertainment, and musicians Anika Moa, and Evan Sinton from MAALA.

Newton said the judges couldn’t fault Alien Weaponry, whom he described as a band that was beyond their years.

“They believed in their identity as a metal band, their use of Te Reo was impressive... there’s really not anything else like this in the world at the moment.”

Newton commented that Iris G had her own unique sound and was not afraid to take risks: “She was thinking outside the square with her music, she’s a great vocalist and a real musician…there’s something very special about her.”

Alien Weaponry is from Bream Bay College and Otamatea High School. The members are brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar/vocals) and Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass). Their Smokefreerockquest prize is $10,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $10,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends.

Alien Weaponry drummer Henry de Jong said the band extracted all the energy they could while on stage.

“It’s just such an awesome feeling after coming second last year - we’re really stoked,” he said. “We want to share our music and get out albums and singles as quickly as we can.”

Second place went to indie pop 4-piece Daffodils from Auckland’s Western Springs College and Kristin School. The members are Theo Salmon (lead guitar and vocals), Isaac Keating (drums), Jade Bryham (synthesizer and keyboard) and Louis Graham (bass).

Solo-duo winner Iris G attends Avondale College and says growing up in Auckland’s Filipino community, Karaoke led to her ambition to make music her career.

“I think I connected to the audience well tonight – I don’t know how to describe my music and I don’t feel like I’m restricted by any type of sound,” she said. “I’m really stoked with the win and the first thing I’m going to do is buy a new guitar.”

Iris G wins $3,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $10,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends.

Second placed solo was singer songwriter Sonatane Kaufusi from Manurewa High School.

Other awards made were:
Third place band wining $3,000 in Rockshop vouchers: Ah Jeez from Bethlehem College and Tauranga Boys College
People’s Choice, gaining the 9th spot to play at the final: Retrospect, Onslow College Wellington.
The MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship: Ella McLennan, Hauraki Plains College, Waikato, bassist from The Flock.
The APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award: Byre and Ethan Aish, from Hamilton Boys and Girls High Schools
The Lowdown Best Song Award: Daffodils
Smokefree Vocals Award: Elijah Tuala from Ah Jeez
Dominate Style Award: Half Eaten Pie, Te Awamutu College


Further info:

Smokefree Pacifica Beats: Smokefree Pacifica Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. Participants must incorporate Maori/Polynesian language, instruments, dance or movement in their performance. The event motivates young musicians to prove their ability with cultural relevance, and to encourage their peers to support 100 percent original Aotearoa Kiwi music. For more information go

Smokefreerockquest – 27 years of musical success: Smokefreerockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, original music, youth event. The series of over 30 events provides young musicians with the opportunity to perform live in a professional setting, in venues from Northland to Otago. Smokefreerockquest 2016, powered by Rockshop, aims to motivate young musicians to prove their abilities, to realise the opportunities available in music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100 percent original New Zealand music. The original founders Glenn Common and Pete Rainey were honoured with the MNZM in 2013, and continue to lead the team that now runs this New Zealand institution. For more information visit

Smokefree 2025: Smokefree has been the naming rights sponsor of Smokefreerockquest for 25 of its 27 years. This sponsorship plays a huge part in the youth Smokefree strategy. Both Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats provides the opportunity for youth to connect and engage with the concept of a Smokefree life. This year, young people will be asked to think about the benefits of being smokefree and get more involved in helping New Zealand become smokefree by 2025.

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