Kidnapping among students' themes

Hundreds of young people took to the stage in Palmerston North last night for the city's leg in the national dance and drama showcase that is the ASB Stage Challenge.

Nine schools from Manawatu, Tararua, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay and Whanganui competed at the Regent on Broadway with performances that explored themes that ranged from peer pressure to sex trafficking.

The latter was the entry from Horowhenua College, the winners of the 2013 Stage Challenge in Palmerston North. Having won last year with a performance about addiction, the college once again stuck with a challenging theme.

"We thought the kidnapping of young people was relevant, with the girls in Nigeria being taken," choreographer and student Roha Taiapa said, referring to the kidnapping of schoolgirls in the African nation.

Alongside the six high schools competing in Stage Challenge were three primary schools taking part in J Rock, the junior version of the event.

College Street Normal School, winners of J Rock last year, were the only Palmerston North school taking part last night, with more than 100 of its students involved. College Street's entry this year was entitled Doors and was about taking risks.

Event manager Sarah-Jane Phillips said the benefits from participating in the event were huge.

"Students learn about commitment, hard work and working with and alongside others, all while being involved in a 100 per cent drug, alcohol and tobacco-free environment. These are life skills that will lead students in a positive direction."

Phillips said the students did an amazing job each year. Many are actively involved with all aspects of their production and she is delighted to see how the students work together with their peers, teachers, parents and competitors, to put on an amazing show.

Last night's winners were announced too late to make this edition of the Manawatu Standard.

Manawatu Standard