The Miss Pacific Islands pageant is an important pathway for young Pacific sisters to have a positive influence in their communities, according to the longest reigning queen in the history of the competition.
2019 Miss Pacific Islands queen Ms Fonoifafo McFarland-Seumanu’s experience was unique in that her reign was three years, instead of the usual one, due to COVID cancelling the pageant in 2020 and 2021.
However she said that was a blessing. As a Manukau registered nurse she is passionate about community health outreach and was motivated further after seeing the social issues of the Otara suburbs while living in South Auckland.
She said being involved with the Miss Pacific Islands pageant brought about “learnings, growth and opportunities.”
Though the pageant was competitive, meeting with the other island representatives was a highlight for the former Miss Samoa New Zealand.
“The conversations that were shared amongst us were empowering. It was nice to be in the same room as women who shared similar views and goals in life. I’m so proud of each of them and their accomplishments,” she said.
For young Pacific women eager to take up the Miss Pacific Islands platform McFarland-Seumanu advised “to be yourself and devour every moment of it.”
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On July 27 this year Ms Seumanu handed over the crown to her successor Miss Samoa New Zealand Shilohm Filipi.
The Miss Samoa pageant is owned by the Government of Samoa through the Samoa Tourism Authority and aims to provide a platform for young women to showcase their grace, beauty and talent as a young Samoan woman.
The contestant who is crowned Miss Samoa will be employed by the Tourism Authority and become a tourism ambassador for the country of Samoa, and advocate for platforms which are close to her.
She will also go on to represent Samoa in the Pacific Islands Pageant.