Showing Maori singing isn't just slow crooning, a Murupara school band has taken top honours in a regional rock competition.
Two groups of Year 7 and 8 students from Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau travelled to Hamilton for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Rockshop Bandquest, a competition for students of intermediate age and under.
One of the bands, Manawarere, won the competition and will take part in the national competition on September 27.
Manawarere sung Lonely Boy by the Black Keys and Tino Rangatiratanga, a song written by Tawhiuau teacher Lianne Bird.
Tutors George Pouwhare and Che August praised the hard work and the dedication of both bands whom they believed had the raw talent and potential.
"We got them to believe in themselves and take to the stage with the motto of the kura on their hearts and minds 'Te Ringa ki Te Taumata Tiketike', strive to excel - and they delivered. We are all just so proud of them."
Ms Bird said she had written the Tino Rangatiratanga song when there were issues around flying the Maori flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
A Maori version of Bobby Day's Rockin' Robin, the Tino Rangatiratanga song was created for the Tawhiuau students and was modified to be more appropriate for bandquest.
"We chose it to show people that we can do any genre of music in Maori language and it works just as well. It was the first time the students have performed in front of people other than their friends and family, and in this kind of forum."
Ms Bird said the students were "still rapt and on cloud nine" after their win, which they celebrated with a dinner at Valentines restaurant.
Kaitao Middle School also produced a good showing at the event with their band Cup of Tea third, behind Manawarere and a school band from Hamilton.
Kaitao music teacher Carol Smyth said they received a $100 Rockshop music voucher for their efforts. "They did really well, specially when you consider they have only been together since the start of the year."
The band played a Taylor Swift song Eyes Open and a Dazz Band track Let it Whip.