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16,500 young Kiwis take up the Stage Challenge

23 June 2005 Media Release

16,500 young Kiwis take up the Stage Challenge

Burning through more than 10,000 safety pins, 8,500 litres of hair spray and a small mountain of glitter, talented young Kiwis have taken to the stage in huge numbers as part of Stage Challenge 2005.

Youth Affairs Minister Steve Maharey – who will present awards tonight at the Wellington Stage Challenge – said the competition was yet another reminder of the talent and creativity of young New Zealanders.

"Stage Challenge provides an opportunity for over 16,000 young New Zealanders to develop and display their considerable talents," Steve Maharey said. "It's another reminder that we have a country filled with optimistic young people ready and willing to seize every opportunity they're presented with.

"Stage Challenge is an exciting opportunity for young people to get involved, learn and have fun – whether it’s behind the scenes designing sets, sewing costumes or on centre stage."

This year, 178 schools and more than 16,500 students are taking part in the Challenge, which is making its way around the country and set to finish in Tauranga on 6 July. It's come a long way from 1993, when just 20 schools and 2,000 students first took part in the competition.

All students involved in Stage Challenge have committed to being alcohol, drug and smoke-free, and are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Research has confirmed that students who take part in Stage Challenge are far less likely to engage in risky behaviour than their classmates who don't participate.

The Stage Challenge is a performing arts extravaganza, which incorporates dance, drama and design, and provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students to have fun and express themselves in a performing arts environment.

Since it began 25 years ago, more than a million young people have taken part in the event, which is run successfully in a number of other countries, including, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and South Africa.

In New Zealand, Stage Challenge is sponsored by Subway and the Ministry of Youth Development.

ENDS

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