Samoa sparks Miss Pacific revival

The Pacific’s beauty pageants are making a comeback and leading the way is Samoa who have announced dates for the Miss Samoa contest.

As part of their Independence celebrations, the Miss Samoa pageant will be held during the Teuila Festival in September.

There were 16 registered contestants within a matter of days since registrations opened and they will be coming from Australia and New Zealand as Samoan communities in these countries are holding their own contests.

It has been three years since the last Miss Samoa and Miss Pacific Islands contest was held. It is also very fitting that Samoa takes the lead as they were the nation that started the Miss Pacific Islands.

Pageant organiser Jerry Brunt said this year was already looking very interesting and they were overwhelmed by the number of young women wanting to be part of the pageant.

The first ever crowned Miss Marshall Islands, Bilma Peter from the atoll of Mejit. She competed in the 2019 Miss Pacific Islands. Picture – SPTO

Overseas-based Miss Samoa pageants have already started, with Miss Samoa New Zealand to hold its pageant on July 27, Miss Samoa New South Wales on August 5, and Miss Samoa Victoria pageant on August 13.

Fonoifafo McFarland-Seumanu is the reigning Miss Samoa, Miss Samoa NZ and Miss Pacific Islands, having held the crown for over a year due to the pandemic lockdowns.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, the Miss Samoa Victoria contest has confirmed six young women to take the stage and get a chance to go to Samoa to represent the country.

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Director of Miss Samoa Victoria, Tamara Puni said the Samoan community in Melbourne have been very supportive and has shown how things are done the Pacific way.

“We are always very grateful for the support that our platform receives from our community, the line up this year is very strong and each contestant has something special, we will be very proud of any of our contestants to be our winner and look forward to being back in Samoa again,” she said.

Papua New Guinean Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha was the winner in 2018. Picture – Miss Pacific Islands

Miss Samoa Victoria is looking forward to showcasing the “Beautiful Samoa” campaign slogan in their wider community in Australia and will be working with Victorian based designers, hair and make-up artists, photographers, videographers and receiving cultural guidance from the elders and cultural groups in Victoria to ensure that it is a community led effort.

The Miss South Pacific pageant was established in 1987 by the Government of Samoa as a regional event to recognise and promote the attributes, intelligence and talents of Pacific islands women, their contributions to regional affairs and their ability to advance in diverse fields.

The first Miss South Pacific pageant was hosted in Western Samoa in 1987, resulting in American Samoa’s Juliette Spencer being crowned the first Miss South Pacific. Tahiti was the first nation in the pageant’s history to win back-to-back victories, with Retire Chevaux winning in 1989 and Henari Arauvaʻa in 1990.

Cook Islands has won the most titles, with eight titles altogether within 22 years: the first win was by Kimiora Vogel in 1991, and the most recent was Teuira Napa in 2013. Samoa and American Samoa have each had victorious representatives from their overseas communities, including Miss Samoa Hawaii Theresa Purcell in 1988 and Miss Samoa NZ, Julia Toevai in 1992. Samoa started competing in the pageant as Western Samoa, and changed its name to Samoa in 1997.

Miss Pacific Islands contestants in 2019 in PNG. The Pacific’s beauty pageants are making a comeback and leading the way is Samoa who have announced dates for the Miss Samoa contest. Picture – Miss Pacific Islands

The pageant started off with about 20 contestants representing their homelands and their homeland communities overseas – such as Samoa Hawaii, Cook Islands NZ, Niue Australia, etc. – until the year 2000. From 2001 the pageant required South Pacific islanders wishing to represent their homeland communities abroad to compete in and win their homeland pageants first in order to enter the Miss South Pacific Pageant, and as a result the number of Miss South Pacific contestants dropped.

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