Beauty pageant helps push for language revitalization

posted: 12:00 pm - 21st November 2017
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From sarong wear to traditional costumes to talent, beauty pageants are more than just a show of beauty; they showcase language, culture and identity.

Young women wanting to be part of a beauty pageant will have the ability to showcase in one way or another their mother tongue, and be part of various displays of culture through costumes and talent, portrayed through dancing, poetry or speech.

The aim for many of these young women is to represent their community, highlight many displays of artwork through their costumes, and relate what they advocate for if crowned winner.

Events such as beauty pageants help young women to speak confidently in front of a live audience, and help to promote their native tongue, as well as showcasing their culture and identity.

Recently, Magdalene Kareroa wowed the audience in South Auckland as she was crowned as Miss Cook Islands New Zealand, one of ten contestants vying for the crown.

The contestants had their first public appearance at the launch of Cook Islands Language Week in July, at the Auckland Memorial Museum.

The organisers said the Miss Cook Islands NZ pageant creates a platform for young Cook Island women in New Zealand to take their talents to an international platform, by taking part in the Miss World and Asia Pacific pageants, or the Miss Cook Islands pageant in Rarotonga.

Also, this month Valencia Lama was crowned Miss Niue Aotearoa 2017. The contestants were also part of the Niue Language Week launch, which was an opportunity for them to embrace their Niuean heritage.

In July, Natalie Leitulagi Toevai won the Miss Samoa New Zealand pageant, shortly followed by Ophelia Kava who was crowned Miss Tonga Appraxus New Zealand, and who also went on to win the Miss Heilala pageant in Tonga.

The Ministry congratulates the organising committee for these events as another channel to promote culture and language within their communities. The Ministry also recognises the tremendous support from families and communities, particularly leading up to the event.

The Pacific young women taking part in these beauty pageants are role models and ambassadors for their communities, their villages, and the country they represent. This is more than just a beauty contest.

The beauty pageants celebrate and empower young Pacific women in New Zealand to be an inspiration to their community, while at the same time advocate for language and culture for future generations.