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Smokefreerockquest 2018 Bay of Plenty final results

French Doors

Five-piece alt-rock groove band French Doors from Otumoetai College won first place at this year’s Bay of Plenty regional Smokefreerockquest final at the Totara St Performing Arts Centre in Tauranga on Saturday night.

The band has been together for three years, and placed second in the regional event last year. Singer and front-woman Emily Ardern says a lot of their success comes down to how well they work together.

“There’s a lot of hard work, and a lot of practicing - we try to play any gigs we can to get experience being on stage,” said the 15-year-old, “We get this buzz for it now…it’s so comfortable that it's just exciting, and always an awesome experience.”

The band is made up of Grace Finnigan on keyboard, Jahvis Stantiall on guitar and backing vocals, Emily Ardern on vocals, Flynn McLaughlin on drums, and Sloane McNamara on bass.

Second place in the band category went to Blackout from Tauranga Boys College, whose members are Andre Moffat on vocals, Tane Livingston on bass, Blake Thomas and Aiden Mogford on guitar, and Levi Watts on drums.

The solo-duo winner for Bay of Plenty was Bree Rose from Katikati College, with second place goiong to Fletcher Oxford from Tauranga Boys' College.

Bree Rose

These four acts win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and have the opportunity to gain selection for the national final in September.

Smokefreerockquest Founder and director Glenn Common says there are more bands than ever before reaching the high 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.”

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, preceded by the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on Friday September 21.

The full list of awards for Bay of Plenty is:

Band 1: French Doors, Otumoetai College

Band 2: Blackout, Tauranga Boys' College

Band 3: The Good Stuff, Bethlehem College

Solo/Duo 1: Bree Rose, Katikati College

Solo/Duo 2: Fletcher Oxford, Tauranga Boys' College

ZM People’s Choice: Three Quarters Late, Bethlehem College

Smokefree Best Vocals: Shae Northfield, Tauranga Girls' College

MAINZ Musicianship: Jack Hendy of The Good Stuff, Bethlehem College

Best Song: French Doors, Otumoetai College

Fatboy Style Award: Cian Alison of Vanguard, Trident High School & St Joseph's Catholic School

The live events run from May 5 until July 6, and most regions are also being filmed for the hugely popular SFRQ webisodes (, fronted this year by NZ’s ‘First Bloke’ Clarke Gayford.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the Musicianship Award, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, Fatboy Style Award, and the ZM People’s Choice.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 30-year history include Broods, Leroy Clampitt, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Chelsea Jade, Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous. Smokefree Tangata Beats standout successes include Alien Weaponry, Strangely Arousing Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.


further information and photos please contact Jacquetta Bell, publicist: 03 546 9661 027 249 1206

Or Founder & director Glenn Common 021 744 536

Winner contact: Brianna Rackman (Bree Rose) 020 4146 2965

Emily Ardern (French Doors) 0211350323

Caption: Tauranga winning band French Doors, from left Grace Finnigan, Jahvis Stantiall, Emily Ardern, Flynn McLaughlin, Sloane McNamara.

Smokefreerockquest – 30 years of musical success: New Zealand’s nationwide, live, original music, youth event stages over 30 events giving young musicians the opportunity to perform live in a professional setting, in venues from Whangarei to Invercargill. Smokefreerockquest 2018, powered by Rockshop, aims to motivate young musicians to strive for success, to realise the opportunities available in music careers, and to encourage their peers to support original New Zealand music. The 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 Tangata Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. Participants must incorporate Te Reo Maori or a Polynesian language, instruments, dance or movement in their performance. The event motivates young musicians to express themselves with cultural relevance, and to encourage their peers to support original Aotearoa Kiwi music. For more information go to

Smokefree has been supporting young Kiwis to showcase their passions for music for close to three decades. Thousands of musicians have hit the stage and many have gone onto to do epic things on national and global levels. Being the naming right sponsor of Smokefreerockquest gives another platform to show the benefits of a smokefree lifestyle and how smoking really doesn’t have a place in young people’s bands or their world. Smokefree recognises that today’s musicians and artists will play a huge role in shaping New Zealand’s future as we head towards the goal of Smokefree 2025.

Rockquest Promotions: In 1989 Glenn Common and Pete Rainey picked up a radio station school music contest in Christchurch. The event went nationwide in 1990, and in ’91 Smokefree became the main sponsor. SFRQ founders Glenn and Pete were honoured with the MNZM for Services to Music in 2013, and continue to lead the team that now runs this New Zealand institution, from offices in Nelson and Auckland. From 2018 Rockquest Promotions is also producing the dance and drama event Showquest in ten regions. For more information visit


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