Smokefree Pacifica Beats, Smokefree Rockquest and Music Commission Mentors – a Winning Combination!

October 2nd 2013
The school holidays kicked off with two great national music finals - Smokefree Pacifica Beats and Smokefree Rockquest held on consecutive nights at the Raye Freedman Centre with many of the students staying on the Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland.

Winners received substantial prizes including recording and video grants from NZ On Air, cash prizes and music equipment totalling thousands of dollars.

Talking with the students, Music Commission Education Manager Stephanie Lees found that whether winners or unplaced, all students were having an awesome time - enjoying seeing each others performances and those of the guest professionals like Adeaze, Massad and the Fresh Movement Dance Company. The students were excited to have had the opportunity to work with musician mentors including Jimmy Christmas, Jon Toogood, Jeremy Redmore, Seth Haapu, Marcus Powell and K'Lee both during the event and prior to - in a school setting.

Ngahuia Te Rahui, a Year 10 student from Opihi College in Temuka, won the Mana Wahine Award and said she ‘couldn't believe her luck' getting to work with Ria Hall for a whole day at school the month before.

The 2014 Rockquest winners A Bit Nigel from Taupo-Nui-a-Tia College described the mentoring as an ‘awesome' experience, working with Matt Warman - formerly of Midnight Youth. "We loved that man, he related to us, was so legit, down to earth and helpful re. our songs and making a living in this industry in the future."

The Ministry of Education funded, Music Commission administered Bands Mentoring scheme sees professional artists and bands taking time with students at all regional finals as well as musicians visiting students at school. Over the last three years, A Bit Nigel had the opportunity to work with Opshop, Shihad, Bangladesh (formerly Rockquesters The Good Fun) and Kids of 88, all whom they described as ‘great role models'.

Winners on Friday night at Pacifica Beats, Strangely Arousing from Western Heights High in Rotorua, received a standing ovation from an all-age multicultural audience with their stand-out songs and high energy performance. Songwriter Lukas Wharekura's winning composition described ‘true growth cannot come at the expense of our cultural identity' with his song relating his ancestors moving for a better life. He sees the ideal of knowing ‘who we are' as transferable to all cultures whose ancestors left their traditional homelands in search of something they perceived as ‘better'. Such wisdom for our island nation in this Smokefree Pacifica Beats song!

Western Heights High School produced two national finalists, winners Strangely Arousing for Pacifica Beats and Aftershock for Rockquest. Both worked with Jeremy Redmore (Midnight Youth) and Jon Toogood (Shihad) at school and Marcus Powell (Blindspott/Blacklistt) on the day of the national finals.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in this year's competitions, and a special bravo to Glenn Common, Pete Rainey and all the team at Smokefree Rockquest for twenty-five years of running a fantastic event.

See you next year!

Smokefree Pacifica Beats      Smokefree Rockquest

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