Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Changes to Miss Samoa NZ pageant highlight challenging times

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Grace Fiavaai | Reporter

The Miss Samoa pageant has been and gone and this year’s winner is 26-year-old Precious Miriama Tusega who hails from Faleatiu, Tuanai, Sasina, and Satupaitea in Savaii.

Held at the Church Unlimited auditorium in west Auckland earlier this month, eight finalists were chosen from across Aotearoa, hailing from cities such as Tauranga, Hamilton, and Auckland, for the final night.

Tusega, a law and arts student at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), took out the title after triumphs in the Interview and Talent categories.

Pageant director Seumanu Ulalemamae Teeva Matafai has nearly three decades of experience at the helm of the pageant. She’s well aware of the pressure on contestants and their families to prepare for the event.

In a bid to address the rising cost of living, Seumanu has made the significant decision to eliminate the traditionally expensive one-night outfits, reducing expenses for participants.

“We’ve seen past participants spend up to $10,000 on traditional wear. That’s just not feasible,” Seumanu says. 

“I’ve cut out these costs, including traditional wear like puletasi and sarong, focusing on the essential categories of talent and interview.”

She says the changes highlight the enduring passion each contestant brings to the pageant, reflecting their cultural pride and self-representation.

This year’s pageant also introduced a pre-pageant interview category, mirroring the format of the pageant in Samoa. This new addition ensures that the winner of Miss Samoa New Zealand is well-prepared for the main Miss Samoa pageant later in the year.

Seumanu emphasised the importance of this initiative: “It’s crucial that our winner understands how the pageant operates in Samoa. This familiarity gives her a solid foundation when she competes in Samoa.”

The Miss Samoa pageant takes place annually in Samoa during the Teuila Festival, drawing contestants from Australia, American Samoa, and this year’s Miss Samoa New Zealand.

The ultimate winner from this pageant will represent Samoa and compete in the Miss Pacific Islands pageant, where the current title holder is Miss Samoa, Maimoana Schwenke.

Notable former Miss Samoa New Zealand winners include Latafale Auvaa and Seumanu Fonoifafo Nancy Tuigamala, both of whom went on to win the Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific Islands crowns.

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