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National final results from SFRQ and Tagata Beats

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Mit Eldnar from Manurewa High School, Manukau are set for music success after taking first place in both Smokefreerockquest and Tangata Beats on Friday and Saturday nights in Auckland.

Lead guitarist Sonatane Kaufusi said they all fed off each other: "We have all helped each other, we have all shared the load with writing songs and arranging them. Being in a band, you have somone who smiles at you, and you smile back. You have someone that vibes with you, you’re all vibing."

The other band members are Finau Fulivai (drums), TJ Televave (keyboard), Joseph Oti-George (guitar) and Wayne Guttenbeil (bass).

Second placed band was Suggested Serving Size, Te Awamutu College, Waikato, winning $5,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop. The band members are Lachlan Oosterman (guitar) and Matt Church (drums),

As Smokefreerockquest first place Mit Eldnar win $10,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop, plus an $8,000 recording and music video grant from NZ on Air and a branding package from Imaginary Friends; plus their prizes from Smokefree Tangata Beats.

The winner of the solo duo category went to singer-guitarist Estella Romagnoli from Nelson College for Girls who wins $3,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop, plus a recording and music video grant from NZ on Air and a branding package from Imaginary Friends. She also won the Lowdown Best Song Award.

Electronic assisted soloist Gretel Donnelly from Auckland’s Rangitoto College placed second in the solo-duo category, winning $1,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop, and also took out the Rockshop Electronic Performance Award winning an Ableton Push 2 live performance instrument USB/MIDI Controller, and Ableton Live 10 suite edition music production software:

The judges were Chris Mac (Six60), Dan Barrett (Racing), Anji Sami (She’s So Rad), and Ross Flahive (ZM Content Director).

Chris Mac said Mit Eldnar were the ‘most complete band’ on the night.

"Sonatane is a very impressive frontman - you could put these guys on the touring circuit now," he said. "Their arrangements were sophisticated and they listened to each other with maturity."

Jeff Newton said the solo-duo category finalists were ‘without doubt the best ever’. They agreed Estella was a stand out, in spite of being up against electronically-assisted performers.

Anji Sami said she ‘loved everything’ about her performance: "The way she paired vocals and guitar, the conviction of her delivery and the strength of her songs - she had it all."

A total of $22,000 worth of equipment was won by the top bands and solo/duos, alongside the $25,000 already won by contestants at the regional finals. The full list of awards made at the Smokefreerockquest national final was:

1 st place band: Mit Eldnar, Manurewa High School, Manukau

2nd placed band: Suggested Serving Size, Te Awamutu College, Waikato

3 rd placed band winning $3,000 in musical equipment from Rockshop: Silvera, Lynfield College, Auckland

1 st placed solo-duo: Estella Romagnoli from Nelson College for Girls

2 nd placed solo-duo: Gretel Donnelly, Rangitoto College

MAINZ Musicianship Award, $500 towards further musical development: Alex Cochrane, guitarist, Bark Like a Dog,Taieri College, Otago

Smokefree Best Vocals Award, $500: Louie Campbell, Silvera, Katikati College

Fatboy Style Award: Sam Cullen, Verdon College, Invercargill

The Lowdown Best Song Award: Estella Romagnoli from Nelson College for Girls

APRA Lyric Award, $500: Danica Bryant from Napier Girls’ High for her song Dizzy

ZM National People’s Choice Award: The Subs, Christ’s College, Canterbury

Rockshop Electronic Performance Award: Gretel Donnelly, Rangitoto College

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.

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