Arlo Mac from Havelock North High School in the Hawke’s Bay are on the path for musical success after taking first place
in this years Smokefreerockquest.
The national final was held at the Bruce Mason Centre on Saturday night in Auckland.
Frontman Harry Mason said that performing on the national final stage felt really natural. “There were nerves but once
we got on stage we were ecstatic,” said the year 12 vocalist and guitarist. “In the band we all have different
personalities and different genres of music we listen to. When we come together we create something quite different, and
we love it.”
The other members of Arlo Mac are Joe Ledword (bass), Thomas Grant (drums), and Benjamin Bush (guitar).
As Smokefreerockquest band winners Arlo Mac receive $10,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop, plus an $8,000
recording and NewTracks grant from NZ on Air and a branding package from Imaginary Friends.
Second placed band was Haven from Wakatipu High School in Central Otago winning $5,000 in musical equipment from the
Rockshop. The band members are Jack Wilson (guitar), Ryan Connaghan (vocals, bass) and Harrison Maguire (drums).
The winner of the solo duo category went to There’s A Tuesday from St Margaret’s College and Christchurch Girls’ High
School, who win $3,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop, plus a NewTracks grant from NZ on Air and a branding
package from Imaginary Friends.
About winning, vocalist and guitarist Natalie Hutton spoke on behalf of the year 13 duo saying that they were over the
moon. “The other two solo-duo acts were phenomenal. There are just no words, we are honoured.” The other member of
There’s a Tuesday is Minnie Robberds (vocals, guitar).
Silika and Russell from Papatoetoe High School placed second in the solo-duo category, winning $1,000 in musical
equipment from the Rockshop.
Louie Campbell from Katikati College 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 on the night were Chris Mac (Six60), Jeff Newton (NZ on Air), Elizabeth Stokes (The Beths), Hamish Jackson
(NZ Rockshop) and Anna Coddington.
Jeff Newton said Arlo Mac were a cohesive unit. “Within their music they took their songs on a bit of a journey and
melded the genres, styles and time signatures.”
About There’s A Tuesday, Newton said “they had such beautiful songs and a captivating performance. They drew you in, and
they had a quirky personality about them that really stood out.”
Elizabeth Stokes was impressed by the talent of the acts. “Learning to write music and playing music with other people,
I don’t think it is something you ever regret. It is such a great way to relate to other people, and Smokefreerockquest
is a great way to encourage that”
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:
1st place band: Arlo Mac, Havelock North High School (Hawkes Bay)
2nd place band: Haven, Wakatipu High School (Central Otago)
3rd place band winning $3,000 in musical equipment from Rockshop: Sit Down In Front, Campion College, Gisborne Boys’
High School (East Coast)
1st placed solo-duo: There’s A Tuesday, St Margaret’s College, Christchurch Girls’ High School (Canterbury)
2nd placed solo-duo: Silika and Russell, Papatoetoe High School (Manukau)
MAINZ Musicianship Award, $500 towards further musical development: Seperateky, Manurewa High School (Manukau)
Smokefree Best Vocals Award, $500: Silika Isaia, Silika and Russell, Papatoetoe High School (Manukau)
The Lowdown Best Song Award: Sit Down In Front, Campion College, Gisborne Boys’ High School (East Coast)
APRA Lyric Award, $500: Jaiyushka Pratap, Kaikorai Valley College (Otago)
Rockshop Electronic Performance Award: Louie Campbell, Katikati College (Bay of Plenty)
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, and
Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.