CHRISTCHURCH, Feb 6 - This comes after annual events Stage Challenge and J Rock were cancelled due to increased costs and lack of financial support.

The Stage Challenge Foundation announced in January that it can no longer deliver the events in their current form.

Mr Hipkins says regional and national activities of this sort are too important to lose - 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.

"As a result, while the Stage Challenge brand itself is licensed and cannot be replicated, I am inviting potential providers to put forward expressions of interest to run national and regional opportunities for students to showcase their skills," Mr Hipkins said. 

"The Stage Challenge Foundation is invited to put forward a proposal."

The ministry has already allocated $267,000 for this purpose for each of the next two years.

The ministry will now seek potential providers with the capability and experience to deliver services in the production of performing arts activities.

It's expected the process will be completed by the end of term one for activities to be held from the second term of this year.