A new Northland-based secondary schools performing arts competition hopes it can snare some government backing.
Whangarei teens Jayden Rudolph and Teale Vint have started a competition for Auckland and Northland schools called AIM (Art in Motion) to fill the gap left after Stage Challenge was axed due to economic conditions.
Last month it was announced popular school performing arts competitions Stage Challenge and J Rock were being axed because of an increase in costs - without a corresponding increase in revenue from sponsorships, grants, participation fees and ticket sales.
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said music, drama and dance are an important part of the curriculum and for many young people are a way of expressing their creativity and building confidence. So the Government wants to fund replacement competitions.
"Like many people I thought regional and national activities of this sort were too important to lose," he said.
Mr Hipkins said while the Stage Challenge brand is licensed and cannot be replicated, he is inviting potential providers to put forward expressions of interest to run national and regional opportunities for students to showcase their skills.
The ministry has already allocated $267,000 for this purpose for each of the next two years.
"Because time is short, I have asked officials to free up more funding for the activity this year to increase the chance of it continuing, while it works with potential providers on a more sustainable long-term replacement."
Mr Rudolph and Ms Vint have already emailed Mr Hipkins, telling him about AIM. The pair said it would be "amazing to receive something" from the Government to help them get their show on school stages in both regions.
Mr Rudolph said they would be grateful to have the support of the Ministry of Education because they see their event as an educational platform, and added it would give them extra credibility.
The pair are currently seeking sponsors to help raise the funds to hold their event.
Ms Vint said this type of event gives students the chance to express their views, and learn valuable skills like team work and leadership.
"We wouldn't be the people we are without it. It's taught us so many things," she said.
AIM also plans to offer scholarships to students to attend workshops outside of the competition.
There will be a Northland event, three regional events in Auckland, followed by a championship night.
The pair are also reaching out to other groups who have popped up to fill the void left by Stage Challenge. They have offered a place in their championship night to the winners of competitions in Hamilton and Tauranga.