Miss Pacific Islands Pageant

Amazing journey for Miss PNG

Kariha and the other five contestants of the 2018 Miss Pacific Islands Pageant, accompanied by the current Miss Pacific Islands, paid a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister of Tonga, Akilisi Pōhiva, on Tuesday.

“I was especially honoured to meet the Prime Minister of our host country,” she said. "This has been a busy but an amazing journey for me so far!

“Judging begins today with the research topic presentation. I will be talking on empowerment of women. This is such an important topic not just for my country but on a broader scale for the Pacific region.

Miss Tonga to vie for Miss Pacific Islands crown in Nuku’alofa

Funganitao, 23, was crowned Miss Heilala 2018 in July.

According to Kaniva News, she is also Miss Appraxus Tonga New Zealand.

In the Miss Heilala competition Funganitao won four of the five judging categories including island creation, pre-interview, talent, and sarong wear.

Funganitao will be joined by Miss PNG, Leoshina Mercy Kariha; Miss Samoa Sonia Piva; Miss American Samoa, Magalita Johnson and Miss Tuvalu, Emelipelesa Panapa.

Contestants from the Cook Islands and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) are also expected to compete.

Regional Pageant board judging criteria under scrutiny

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi assured reigning Miss Samoa, Alexandra Iakopo that the Board can expect a formal letter from the government.

Iakopo was crowned first runner up in the regional pageant that was held in Fiji last week.

“In my eyes and in the eyes of your country, you are still a winner in our book,” Tuilaepa told Iokopo when she paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister.

On the same token, he is pleased with the overall performance by Miss Samoa and has accepted with pride the outcome.

Modern materials in a traditional story

“Many still do to this day,” says Molly O’Rourke, chairperson of Miss Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP) PNG.

She says opportunities such as the pageant puts PNG on a different scale.

“Because we can do more than that (headdress and bare-chest)… This is where these ladies (designers) come in with their different cultures and talents,” she said.

The chairperson further explained that a designer’s role now is to use modern materials but speak a traditional story.

Voting for Miss Pacific Islands pageant 2016 begins

The pageant week begins with a church service and over the course of the week will assess each contestants through various activities planned.

Contestants representing eight Pacific Islands - American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tonga have all gathered in Apia, Samoa.

Contestants and their teams started arriving in Samoa last week for the 30th anniversary of the Miss Pacific Islands.

Miss PNG team arrive in Samoa

The team settled into Taumeasina Island Resort, owned by PNG’s Lamana Group.

The hotel, opened only in June this year, will be host to the eight Pacific Island contestants and their team over the duration of the pageant.

The resort is an official sponsor of the Miss Pacific Islands pageant.

“Taumeasina is just awesome. Our PNG flag is just flying high outside. We’re so proud as all the contestants and their teams arrive,” the team spokesperson relayed.

Abigail Havora’s final Week as Miss Pacific 2015

Havora boarded the plane today with the rest of team PNG who are travelling to Samoa for the regional pageant.

This will be her final trip as the regional queen and ambassador, a title she had carried since being crowned in Cook Islands, last year.

“I started as a young eager Papua New Guinean and with every opportunity, shone light on the good side of my country,” Havora said.

“How do I unite a region?” was the first question that hit her hard.

But after soul searching, she is confident to tell her successor that it’s all about values.

Project to empower local designers

It is meant to be a show to bring together a pool of designers to create garments with unique PNG designs that will be worn by the Miss PNG entrant to the Miss Pacific Island Pageant (MPIP) in Samoa in December.

Most designers who participated at last night’s event were small entrepreneurs, working from their home space.

Over the years, according to reigning Miss PNG Abigail Havora, the pageant has assisted some of them by assigning them to create outfits for Miss PNG entrants.

"This year, we are supporting with more incentives," she said.

Miss Tonga celebrates with college students

She gifted the school $200 on behalf of her team before performing a traditional Tongan dance, again presenting the principal with the money she was given while dancing.

The college interestingly started the 2015 year short-staffed and there was just $6 in the school bank account.