Smokefree Pacifica Beats finalists prepare for tonight's event

By Harata Brown

The top finalists of the Smokefree Pacifica Beats are set to compete at the Ray Freeman Center based at Epsom Girls' Grammar in Auckland tonight.

The event requires secondary school participants to perform original compositions that have Māori or Pacifica elements.

Reporter Harata Brown went out earlier today to meet some of the contestants. 

It's sound check for Alien Weaponry from Northland's Bream Bay and Otamatea High Schools who last night came second at the Smokefree Rockquest competition.

Now they hope that their composition about Te Ahoaho who fought in the Land Wars at the Battle of Gate Pa will get them an even better result. 

Drummer Henry Te Reiwhati De Jong of Ngāti Pikiao says, "Heavy metal is actually a pretty close match with 'Haka' and you know that kind of energy that is put in to it when you perform it".

The top 8 band finalists will compete for the national title that includes a $10,000 recording prize pack.  

Taniwha from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi Marae are the first in the history of Pacifica beats to have represented their West Auckland School.

Vocalist Scarlet Manners of Ngāpuhi descent says they hope that other school members in the future will also have the priviledge to compete in such a prestigious event. 

Leading up to the event Taniwha drummer Javan Rivers of Ngāti Manawa said, "I am excited; there's no words to describe how I feel" 

Kapiolani Kihi-Waikato from Western Heights High School is one of two acts who will compete in the Duo or Solo performance category. 

"My first act is a tribute to a friend of mine who has passed away, the second is about the need for people to follow the right path instead of going down the wrong path that can lead to destruction", says Kihi-Waikato. 

Winners will be announced at the end of the event sometime late tonight.