The Rockquest is a "battle of the bands" style competition for secondary school bands. It began life as a local Christchurch event in 1988. In 1990 it became a nationwide competition, including Waikato and four other regions. Smokefree began its association with the event in 1991, which has continued ever since. Notable alumni of the competition include Bic Runga (1993), Anika Moa (1998), Evermore (2000), Nesian Mystik (2000) and The Have (2002).
Hamilton bands that have competed at the Rockquest at either a regional or national level include Death of a Monkey, Valhalla, No Thrills, Nozzle, The Grinners, Diastop, Dinosaurgoesrawr! and Atomic Garage. Most successful was Handsome Geoffrey (Hamilton Girls High School), who won the 1998 national event, Kimbra Johnson (Hillcrest High), who came second in the 2004 finals, Jerihko (Hamilton Girls), third in 2000, and the Seed, third in 2009. Also notable are The Braxton Hicks (St. Pauls), who made the top 12 in the 2006 national finals and feature on the Smokefree Rockquest 2006 CD, and Grannypash, who won the "Stage Image Award" at the 2003 national finals.