Duo - No Credit Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid and soloist Huia Shortland

Huia takes third win at Northland’s Smokefreerockquest regional finals

Live music, original songs, and stage nerves were all part of the mix at Forum North in Whangarei on May 26 in this year’s Smokefreerockquest Northland heats.

The event was one of a number of nationwide heats which will see over 800 bands and solo/duos in over 20 venues from Invercargill to Whangarei  contest for their position in the finals in Auckland in September.

The top two Northland solo/duos selected in Whangarei were Huia Shortland from Te Kapehu Whetu – Teina school, Whangarei (first) and No Credit (Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid) from Kerikeri High School.

I write about the little experiences we have every-day, and I think I stood out to the judge because my song was very honest and to the point

Whangarei Tangata Beats winners; Harmonies Divergent – Danika Holland (keyboard), Dana Scott (guitar),Mihitaurangi Koperu (guitar, vocals) and Jade Norman (vocals).

For singer-songwriter and guitarist Huia Shortland, this is her fifth Smokefreerockquest, and her third win in the solo-duo category for the region. Despite her success, she does not go in expecting to win.

The 15-year-old said “I write about the little experiences we have every-day, and I think I stood out to the judge because my song was very honest and to the point, came from my heart I guess.”


Teen soloist hits the winning note at Smokefreerockquest

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Harmonies Divergent, from Bay of Islands College.

The band members are Danika Holland (keyboard), Dana Scott (guitar), Mihitaurangi Koperu (guitar, vocals) and Jade Norman (vocals).

Koperu offered some advice for future participants in SmokefreeTangata Beats: “If you ever want to do something like this just believe in yourself, and then do it.”

Smokefree Tangata Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.

The top 12 bands selected will play off at the Northland regional final at Forum North, on June 22 – two will be selected for the finals.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play at the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on September 21 in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on September 22.


Originally featured in Stuff, Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 4:30 pm

Article written by: Annette Lambly
Photo: Duo – No Credit Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid and soloist Huia Shortland. 


Huia wins Smokefree Rockquest 2017 Solo/Duo Northland Regional Heats

Huia Shortland looks set for solo success after taking out the Smokefreerockquest solo/duo title last night (Friday) at the Northland regional heats at Forum North on Friday. She won the national Smokefree Pacifica Beats solo/duo title last year in a duo with her cousin Izaia Tilialo, who has now left school.

Fourteen year old Huia who is in year 10 at Te Kapehu Whetu Teina plans to make music her career but was very surprised with her win last night.

“I really didn’t expect to win Smokefreerockquest as I was also entered in Pacifica Beats,” she said. “My songs are a bit funkier and groovy than the reggae sound I do with Izaia and I think it might have been that genre that made me stand out.”

Mollie Harvey from Rodney College came second, while third place went to Dani Ngakuru-Smith. These three solo-duos now put 15 mins of their best material together to submit for selection as national finalists.

The winners of Smokefree Pacifica Beats for Northland were Barry & Te Rina from Whangaroa College, who are Barry Jubei and Te Rina Kahle. They submit 15 minutes of their best material for selection as Smokefree Pacifica Beats national finalists.

The 12 top bands selected at the heats will go on the play off for the top two places and other awards at the Northland final at Forum North on Saturday 1 July at 7pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek. The 12 bands selected to go on to the final are:

H.K.A. Broadwood Area School, Panguru Area School

Weevils Rodney College

Jinx Springbank School

Denial Kerikeri High School

Mad Gravity Whangarei Girls’ High School, Huanui College

The Pastie Boys Tauraroa Area School

Theoretically Impossible Kerikeri High School

LIVEWIRE Mahurangi College

A08 Kamo High School

Room 44 Whangarei Girls’ High School

Mic’s Mates Huanui College

JKA zzz TKKM o Te Tonga o Hokianga

Founder and director Glenn Common said the level of performance at the heats seems to keep going up every year as entrants get more support for contemporary music from their schools, make use of on line resources and have role models who have used Smokefreerockquest as a springboard to success.

“Between now and the regional final their preparation work is part of the process that makes Smokefreerockquest and Pacifica Beats such valuable learning experiences for young people,” he said. “The 12 bands going on to the finals need to practise hard, craft their set, get their supporters rallied and make good use of networking opportunties and social media to promote themselves and their achievements. For a lot of students these steps can be part of their NCEA assessments.”

The regional events for both Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats run from May 12 until July 7, with the top regional bands and solo/duos submitting video footage for selection to play off at the Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final on Friday September 1 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 2.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, and a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, and the People’s Choice voted by text with the opportunity to open the Smokefreerockquest national final.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 28-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, Kora, Thomston, Midnight Youth, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous; Smokefree Pacifica Beats standout successes include Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.


Originally featured in Scoop Culture, Monday, 22 May, 2017
Smokefree Rockquest Press Release