This year's Miss South Pacific Pageant opened in Fiji over the weekend in the capital, Suva.

Twelve young ladies from around the region are vying for this year's crown representing American Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu, along with the host country, Fiji, and including Miss Aotearoa Pacific.

The Pageant opened on Saturday with the contestants being ferried to the venue by a canoe, according to Fiji Times Online.

According to Fiji Times Online, the chief guest at the opening ceremony, Ministry of Social Welfare's Dr. Jiko Luveni, stated that Fiji 'was honoured to host to the very important and colourful event' and that the country 'was hosting the event for the first time in its 23-year history'.

This year's pageant will be a week-long event compared to the usual three days.

Please follow the link below to the official site of the 2009 Miss South Pacific Pageant.