'Beauty pageants have had their day' - Tonga women's agency

It's time for beauty pageants to be replaced with more appropriate cultural events, a Tongan agency for women says.

This follows last weekend's Miss Heilala pageant in Nuku'alofa, which was beset by controversy when the outgoing queen spoke of mistreatment and bullying by organisers.

Miss Pacific Islands from Papua New Guinea who attended the event was also subjected to a racial slur from the crowd.

The coordinator of Ma'a Fafine Moe Famili, Betty Blake, who was not at the pageant, said the incidents highlight wider social issues and the event should be reviewed.

"The social gap I think is gender... young woman with people in power," Ms Blake said.

"Also there's a power struggle and there's a cry from this young woman to be heard. I think beauty pageants have had their day."

Tonga can showcase its talent in better ways, Ms Blake said.