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Napier singer-songwriter Mia Sohnge has been selected in the top 10 solo-duo acts vying to make the national Smokefreerockquest final. Havelock North high band Headlock are also in the top 20 bands. Supplied.

Dreams of music success are now a little closer to reality for two Hawke's Bay acts, who are among the top 30 to be chosen to go through to the next stage in judging for the national 2016 Smokefreerockquest final.

Despite only finshing runner-up at the Hawke's Bay regional final back in June, Havelock North High band Headlock have been chosen in the top 20 bands to go through to the next stage, as has Napier singer-songwriter Mia Sohnge, who has been selected in the top 10 solo-duo acts.

There were among the 700 entries in this year’s only nationwide, orginal youth music event, with regional finalists sending in their video footage, for selection to play off at the national final in Auckland on September 24.

The top 20 bands and top 10 solo duos  will be further narrowed down before the announcment on on August 1 which of the fiinal five bands and three solo-duos will play off the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar on Saturday September 24.

The 22 acts not in the final selection then become contenders for the People’s Choice, with the winner of the voting campaign competing as the ninth act in national final.

Rockquest CharitableTrust chairman Matt Ealand said it was great to see the spread of finalists across every one of the regions where the event was held this year. And he noted the standard of musical performance keeps going up year by year, as young people are exposed to more music on social media and online.

"This makes it easier for them to emulate singers and bands who already making it on the musical scene - there are now role models not far removed from their own peer group," he said.

"Just looking at last year’s Smokefreerockquest finalists Eljay Hall’s song Lights On is being heavily played on commerical radio, Ben Mollison is recording an EP and Courtney Hate is making waves on the alternative scene."

For the 30 on the top 20 list, making it to the Smokefreerockquest finals is the next step on the success ladder. The top 30 is made up of 20 bands and 10 solo-duos, the region given is where they competed.

The top 20 bands are:

Alien Weaponry, Bream Bay College, Northland

O-Boy! Kaipara College, North Shore

Daffodils, Western Springs College & Kristin School, Auckland

Nui Trio, Manurewa High School, Manukau

Tree Juice, Cambridge High School, Waikato

Half Eaten Pie,Te Awamutu College, Waikato

Made Alive, Whakatane High School & Trident High School, Bay of Plenty

AhJeez, Bethlehem College & Tauranga Boys College, Bay of Plenty

Kurawaka, TKKM O Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti & Gisborne Girls High School, East Coast

Suburban Goons, New Plymouth Boys' High School, Taranaki

Headlock, Havelock North High School, Hawkes Bay

Why Vibrations, Wanganui High School, Whanganui

Hymns & Her, Dannevirke High School, Manawatu

Retrospect, Onslow College, Wellington

Meraki, Marlborough Boys' College, Marlborough

The Hoard, Golden Bay High School, Nelson

Tetra, Nelson College for Girls, Nelson

Fuzhun, Shirley Boys' High School, Christchurch

Pseudo Sane, Geraldine High School, Timaru

Ceiling, Mt Aspiring College, Central Otago

And the top ten solo/duos are:

Izaia and Huia, Kamo High School & Te Kapehu Whetu-Teina, Northland

Aimee Way, Kaipara College, North Shore

Iris G, Avondale College, Auckland

Two Imbue, Alfriston College, Manukau

Sonatane Kaufusi, Manurewa High School, Manukau

Mia, Taradale High School, Hawkes Bay

Kieran O'Connor, Garin College, Nelson

Cam Dawson, Garin College, Nelson

Keith and Cait, Burnside High School, Christchurch

Levi Dick, James Hargest College, Otago

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $20,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, 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 (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award and the Dominate Style Award.

The finalists for Smokefree Pacifica Beats will be announced on 8 August, with the national final for that event, also at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar, on Friday September 23.

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