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Aotearoa's only nationwide, live, original music, youth event


Aotearoa's only nationwide, live, original music, youth event


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ROCKSHOP Bandquest

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Kia ora, e te whānau

With Auckland at Level 3 (from tomorrow), and the remainder of the country in level 2 (with socially-distanced 100 person limits on gathering), we had to have some tough conversations about what is possible for this year's national finals.

As always, it is of utmost importance to us that the event is as accessible, safe and fair as we can make it.

A few weeks ago, with the information we had then around social distancing requirements, we started putting in process a plan for audience-less national finals for Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats.

To make audience-less national finals possible we had to take into consideration many moving parts:

Taking all this into account, and having spoken to a number of teachers, schools, and the people behind the scenes about their feelings and abilities to pull this together before the end of the school year - we cannot confidently plan a national final for this year. As a result, we have made the decision that we will not be holding national finals this year.

This is incredibly disappointing, for both sets of Top 10 National Finalists most of all, but also for us as an organisation - the first time ever we will not hold national finals, it's painful. While you will not compete again this year, we are putting together prize packs for each of you to congratulate you on your amazing achievement of being in the Top 10. More details to come next week. We will also be working with you to finish your recording, if they have not yet done so.

We'll be back again in 2022 for our 35th year of events, and cannot wait to get back on the road to hear young people perform their songs. Being able to run these events is a privilege we don’t take lightly - it's a very special space we are able to hold on the Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats stages.

We thank all our supporters

Smokefree, Ministry of Education, Rockshop, Ministry of Youth Development, Creative New Zealand, ZM, Lion Foundation, APRA, NZonAir, Youth Week, Central Lakes Trust, Invercargill Licensing Trust, ECCT, Rātā Foundation, Hamilton City Council, Foundation North, Bay Trust and SkyCity

We thank all of the Students, Teachers and Schools involved, it was an incredible year.

Lastly, Congratulations to our National Finalists who will not get their chance to shine on the National Final stage, we are proud of you and your success:

Smokefreerockquest - Albert Street, Big Angry, Coast Arcade, Esther & Matt, girl, Mabel Affleck, Crumbly Jack, Kenring, Single Malt, The Pills

Smokefree Tangata Beats - Agape Tiatia, Caxixi, Lucy Summerfeild, NF8, Nicole & Flo, Sixth Sense, Sounds Of La Salle, Stay In It, TMB, Tu Te Akitu

Please take this chance to go and stream a young NZ music act - keep their presence visible and encouraged. Young acts need support - they are the future of this industry and this will have an impact in the coming years.

Reminder: Ticket buyers from our cancelled live events will have received emails with information to get their tickets refunded, and if you have not - you can contact Q Theatre directly (

Stay safe, Hei konā mai.

- Rockquest Promotions Team


Aotearoa has been lucky in the fight against COVID-19 to say the least. The first half of 2021 brought us many small and large-scale events in a time when the rest of the world was still in restriction. Because of our nation’s hard and fast approach to lockdowns we have been rewarded with the freedoms to socialise and enjoy live music and entertainment together. We want that to continue and there is only one way for that to happen.

We’re all united by the same vision: ending interruptions to our live entertainment culture by encouraging everybody to get vaccinated. We all have a part to play in getting back to the gigs, events, concerts and festivals we love.


We’ve been talking to a bunch of amazing NZ artists about their musical journey and songwriting process. They have generously shared their knowledge, experience, tips and advice.

We are always adding to our collection of artist profiles - from the likes of No Comply, Tomorrow People, Kaylee Bell, There's A Tuesday & heaps more! These profiles are written by the artist especially for YOU - the Smokefreerockquest participants and next generation of musicans!


Key Information

We’re all about making this process as straightforward and smooth sailing as possible for you. We are just a phone call or email away if you have any questions!

How it works

It says it in the title! Here you’ll find a step by step guide to how region-wide and nation-wide aspects of the programme works

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Event Info

Here you’ll find 2021 dates, the team behind Smokefreerockquest, history (including past winners and where they're from!), and FAQs

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Check out the awards up for grabs at our regional and national Smokefreerockquest events. Along with the placings for the top bands and solo/duos, we also have songwriting and musicianships awards.

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