Manawatu solo-duo winners and band heats results

Press Release – Smokefreerockquest

Live music, original songs, selfies and first time nerves – it was all part of the mix at the Globe Theatre on Friday in this year’s Smokefreerockquest Manawatu heats.

Over 700 bands and solo/duos are going through regional heats and finals in over 20 venues from Invercargill to Whangarei between May 5 and July 6.

Founder and Director Glenn Common says while Smokefreerockquest is a competition, the environment at the heats is very supportive and the emphasis is on participation.

“The competition is merely the framework on which we hang the opportunity to perform and for entrants to learn from each other. They pick up skills such as stage presence from watching their peers, in a way that can’t be replicated in the classroom.”

The top two Manawatu solo/duos selected at the heats are Holly (Holly-May O’Sullivan) from Otaki College (first) and Katherine Keane from Fielding High School (second).

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Holly-May O’Sullivan, who performs just as Holly, says she was thrilled about her win in her first ever Smokefreerockquest.

“Every little girl wants to be a little famous, and the little girl in me kind of wants to be a little famous too – I just wanted to play like when I was alone in my room, because that’s when I tend to play my best,” the Year 10 student said. “It was like when I busk, and I forget that there are other people around me. I did some cool effects on my guitar and I think my arrangement was really good. I have been working really hard to get it ready for a while.”

The top two solo-duos go into the judging pool for the national final and will be joined by the top two bands selected at the Manawatu finals in June.

The SmokefreeTangata Beats Award went to Dub . C from Waiopehu College who submits footage to be selected as a finalist for that event’s national final. Lead vocalist Anotonio Sooalo says that the soul/gospel/RnB group’s win was down to their practise.

“Our harmonies were pretty tight, and our pianist played really well,” he said. “I just wanted to stay as calm as possible and give it my all. We were relieved when it finished, and we performed really well and played a lot better than we thought we would.”

The other members of Dub_C are Viliami Mohi (backing vocals, keys), and Fetuli Hala (backing vocals).

These are the top 11 bands to play off at the Manawatu regional final at the Globe Theatre on Friday June 8, start time 7pm, tickets $20 adults and $10 students at the door or from Eventfinda.

Fusion Manawatu College

Age of Steel Horowhenua College

Riptide Palmerston North Girls’ High School

daybreak Waiopehu College, Horowhenua College

The Troublesome Trio Tararua College

Carson Taare Quartet Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Correspondence

Sheva Nga Tawa Diocesan School

Emerald Waiopehu College

Birds Make Me Anxious Kapiti College

fruit juice parade Palmerston North Girls’ High School

Dub_C Waiopehu College

At the Manawatu final there are awards for the top three bands, the MAINZ Musicianship Award, Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship, Lowdown Best Song, the APRA Lyrics Award, the Fatboy Style Award and the ZM People’s Choice voted by text.

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

The live events run from May 5 until July 6, and most regions will also be 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.


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

Or Founder & director Glenn Common 021 744 536
Solo-duo winner: Holly-May O’Sullivan – 06 364 3555

Tangata Beats Winner: Anotonio Sooalo from Dub_C – 022 634 1953

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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