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Smokefree Tangata Beats is a live, original music, nationwide, youth event that recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific.


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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:

  • Possibility of Auckland still not being at level 2 before our planned dates,
  • Travel of many people from different parts of the country
  • Some communities not being able/comfortable travelling to Auckland at level 2
  • Lack of, other potential, dates that wouldn't clash with exams or the availability of students, before the end of the school year.
  • Mental wellbeing of all involved - students, staff, crew
  • Along with making sure the three SFRQ and four SFTBs acts in Auckland would have the same opportunity to attend and prepare as the other acts.

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

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 work

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Event Info

Here you’ll info on 2021 dates, 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 Smokefree Tangata Beats events. Along with the placings for the top bands and solo/duos, we also have songwriting and musicianships awards.

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