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"Our festival is an opportunity for young people to perform to their friends, family and a wider audience."
Ms Gifford said the children involved were "nice kids".
"There's no room for bigheads around. We run a really friendly competition. But it's more than a competition. There's more to it. There's friendships made, new skills, people are learning on and off the stage."
Papamoa dancer Kaitlyn Weaver, Tauranga tap dancer Ella Sussex and Tauranga singer Anna Mahon were among those nominated to compete in the awards.
Ms Gifford said the nominees showcased outstanding emerging young talent and provided inspirational performances for younger competitors.
This year's competitions were the first to be held in the renamed Centennial Theatre, in tribute to the late Bob Addison whose genius and drive did so much for the performing arts in Tauranga.
Click on this link or view below to see a full photo gallery of the performers in action.
Image 1 of 20: Sophie (left) and Alex Blair - The secret garden.