Auckland’s top young talent battle for school pride

Last Updated : 31 Aug 2022
SUSO 19 Finals Social

Top young talent from across the Tāmaki Makaurau region will be competing this weekend in the semi-finals of Stand Up Stand Out (SUSO), Auckland Council’s premier music and dance competition.

Aroha Te Kanawa, Auckland Council’s Manager of Creative Programming, says that being able to provide a platform that gives perspective to the depth of creative talent in Tāmaki Makaurau is massively important.

“There are a lot of talented young creatives in Auckland. SUSO provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talents and provide opportunities for the next generation of creatives to rub shoulders with leaders in the music and dance industries. The quantity and quality of those rangatahi who have participated in the heats highlights a very deep pool of creative talent in Tāmaki Makaurau.”

That talent pool has seen more than 1,000 students from 33 schools competing in a series of heats over the last month to reach the semi-finals which are being held on Saturday 3 September at the Aotea Centre with the final three weeks later.

Rangatahi will be performing in five categories: dance; solo instrumental; group vocal; solo vocal; and bands.

SUSO has been nurturing and showcasing secondary school talent for nearly a decade. This year’s semi-finalists reflect the diverse and inclusive culture of SUSO. Acts included a gospel choir, a traditional Samoan dance, and a piano-playing rapper.

It is the first time in three years that the semi-finals will be happening in-person, but the audience will be limited to schools and whānau.

SUSO was completely held online in 2020 and had to be cancelled last year as a result of COVID lockdowns.

Stand Up Stand Out is an Auckland Council initiative, in partnership with Auckland Live and Auckland UNESCO City of Music. This programme is an important development pathway to tertiary study, through promoting songwriting and a culture of music as well as dance performance excellence within schools.

Twenty-five acts across the five categories will go through from the semis to the SUSO final which takes place on Saturday 24 September at the Auckland Town Hall and will be open to the public. Tickets for the final will be available through Auckland Live.

2022 Stand Up Stand Out semi-finalists and finalists:


  • AcDc – Avondale College
  • A.D.K – Avondale College
  • Panapa and Sally - Southern Cross Campus Years 1-15
  • OC – Ōtāhuhu College
  • SUBJECT 09 – Alfriston College

Solo Instrumental

  • Andres Olan - Sacred Heart College
  • Andre Smirnov - Takapuna Grammar School
  • Ryu Tanriosa - Birkenhead College
  • Crispin Manikkam - Birkenhead College
  • Destiny Tilialo - Birkenhead College

Group Vocal

  • Toka Tu Moana Choir - Tangaroa College
  • Ingrid and Jess - Pakuranga College
  • Freedom Fours - Papatoetoe High School
  • Reawaken - Manurewa High School
  • Expressionz - Māngere College

Solo Vocal

  • Caylis Masinamua – Māngere College
  • Grace Sau - Manurewa High School
  • William Quinn - Manurewa High School
  • Charles Lia - Manurewa High School
  • Biggie Wills - Aorere College
  • Reikura Boyd - Aorere College
  • Aaliyah Magalogo - Aorere College
  • Destiny Tilialo - Papatoetoe High School
  • Shyla Hunt - Papatoetoe High School
  • Ace Rawiri - Papatoetoe High School
  • Adi Pani - Papatoetoe High School
  • Balpreet Masaun - Papatoetoe High School
  • Phyllis Taukava - Birkenhead College
  • Shani Felise - Birkenhead College
  • Ella Culverwell - Kaipara College
  • Grace Allis - Kristin School
  • Matalupe Teputepu - Ōtāhuhu College
  • Eternity Puea - Ōtāhuhu College
  • Charles Toilolo - Ōtāhuhu College
  • Ava Purvis - Pakuranga College
  • Tuafono Leuo - Papakura High School
  • Pimiro Marino - Papakura High School
  • Anjekoia Natua - Papakura High
  • Helen - Southern Cross Campus College
  • Jouitta Lopiani Papau - Southern Cross Campus College
  • Imeldyn Maiava - Southern Cross Campus College
  • Rachel Kim - Rutherford College
  • Rebecca Rice - St Dominics College
  • Sharntez Tiatia - Tangaroa College
  • Michael Percival - Long Bay College


  • Cesura - Sancta Maria College
  • The Street Bugs - Sancta Maria College
  • The Tanuki's - Sancta Maria College
  • Room 3 - Papatoetoe High School
  • Crameleon Ice - Birkenhead College
  • Yellow Lines - Birkenhead College
  • Contemp - Avondale College
  • Apollo - Avondale College
  • Haze of Youth - Kaipara College
  • The Ave - Pacific Advance Secondary School
  • C7 - Tangaroa College
  • M2 - James Cook High School
  • M1 - James Cook High School
  • Legacy - Ōtāhuhu College
  • Second World Problems - Diocesan School for Girls
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