Monday, 30 November 2009 6:25 AM

Fiji Wins Miss South Pacific

Miss Fiji was crowned the new Miss South Pacific on Saturday night in Fiji's capital, Suva, bringing the week-long festivities to an end.

Miss Fiji, Merewalesi Nailatikau, created history for her country, also the host country, by winning the prestigious crown.

According to Fijilive, the new Miss South Pacific, 24, was crowned 'ahead of four other regional finalists who all picked a question from a hat and responded impromptu to help the five-member panel of judges to decide on a winner'.

Responding with her usual eloquence to the question of whether hitting children as a means of disciplining them should be outlawed in the Pacific, Nailatikau said dialogue was essential to look for alternative means in a region where it took "an entire village", from the family to the church pastor to the school teacher to raise a child.

Miss Nailatikau is a graduate of the University of the South Pacific (USP) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Management and Public Administration, and is pursuing a postgraduate diploma in development studies.
She is the first contestant from Melanesia to win the title.

Miss Cook Islands, Engara Gosselin, took the first runner-up title followed by Miss Aotaroa Pacifica, Paretaunu Randall, who was the second runner-up.
Miss Solomon Islands, Milicent Barty, was third and Miss Samoa, Tusisaleia Pomele, was the fourth runner-up.

According to Fijilive, Miss Fiji also won the awards for Best Talent, Best Traditionally Inspired Attire and Best Interview.
Miss Cook Islands took the award for Best Sarong while the Miss Personality title and Miss Photogenic title both went to Miss American Samoa, Lorisa Matautia.
The Miss Internet award went to Miss Papua New Guinea for the most number of votes online, polling a total of 15.56 percent of votes with Miss Fiji settling for second place with a total of 15.26 percent of votes.
The Miss National Tourism title went to Miss French Polynesia, Aruhoia Marine Biret, while the Pearl Beauty Soup Elegance award went to Tonga's Miss Paea Williams.
Miss Tuvalu, Akelita Marisa Pesega, was the winner of the float competition.

According to Fiji Times Online, Miss Fiji dedicated her win to the region.

Ms Nailatikau said the people of Fiji had shaped her into the person that she was.

"I dedicate this to the entire South Pacific. The need for some countries is more urgent than others.

"We must let the world know that a threat to one of us is a threat to the entire South Pacific. No matter your race or culture, if you call the South Pacific home, you love this place and you want to work hard to make it a better place, I dedicate this to you."


Papua new Guinea will host the next Miss South Pacific pageant.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province
By JAQUE FRIEDMAN New Zealand