Hundreds of young musicians and performers are set to get their first shot at stardom when new school arts events begin later this year.

Following the announcement that Stage Challenge could no longer continue after 25 years of student performances, RockQuest Promotions LTD have jumped in to take over.

Education minister Chris Hipkins said that he was delighted with the move.

"I couldn't stand by and let these events disappear," he said.


"They are a great opportunity for young people to affirm and celebrate their culture and identity, be creative, and increase their confidence and leadership."

The contract with Rockquest is for 2018 and will be funded by a one-off grant of $800,000 while the ministry develops a longer term solution.

Mr Hipkins said the Ministry of Education ran a tender process and received a range of good proposals.

"Rockquest has a great track-record of delivering successful, large scale performance events for all ages and cultures and already has strong relationships with schools."

The new events have not yet been named, but will enable Year 1 to 13 students to engage in music, drama and dance in their local communities.

Whanganui Girls' College deputy principal Nita Pond said that while it was great to have an event back, the timing of the announcement was a bit off.

"It's a bit of a surprise that it has taken this long to be announced, we had decided that we would set something up if nothing was going to fill the gap," she said.

"Dean McKerras, who runs DanceNZmade, said he would put Stage Art through, we've started that for the year and it's probably too late to get something else up and going."

The Girls' College Stage Art project will take almost two terms to complete and auditions have already been done for the performance.

Pond said it would be interesting to see how Rockquest, known for their support of bands and music, would produce a Stage Challenge-like event.

She said that whatever comes next needs to be a national event.

"It's good to have some national consistency, having the same judges from one region to another was a real crucial factor for Stage Challenge," she said.

"It needs to be another chance for our girls to be creative, to boost their self-confidence and teach them to use their initiative."