Pacific queens meet in run-up to Pacific Islands pageant

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The 31st Miss Pacific Islands Pageant began with an official gathering in Nadi, Fiji, on Friday, says the organisation’s executive director, Sonja Hunter Papali’i.
She said on the theme “Climate Change Action to Sustain our Islands”, the nine Pacific beauties met for the first time.
“The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant since its inception in 1985 was established to foster, expand knowledge and share intelligence and talents of our young Pacific ladies.”
Papali’i said Miss Pacific Islands was always known as a pageant with a difference.
“The pageant is an opportunity to encourage the Pacific Islands, their diverse cultures, the beauty of their interesting holiday destinations through cleverly choreographed representations by talented and intelligent contestants trained by the best Pacific fashion houses, artists and artisans, chaperones, mothers and kinfolk of the Pacific Islands nations.”
Papali’i said the theme reflected the continuing environmental challenges faced by the Pacific Islands due to the harsh effects of climate change and the Pacific peoples’ resilience and unity to protect their environment.
“It further transcends the unity between the Pacific Islands with regards to their unique values which encompasses the respect given to their women, adding strength and nurturing the fusion between the respective Pacific cultures,” she said.
Papali’i acknowledged reigning Miss Pacific Islands Anne Dunn for her hardwork in the past 12 months and congratulated her for completing her Bachelor of Laws degree.
During the gathering, the contestants picked their order of appearance and their respective topics for their pre-pageant interviews: Miss Nauru – Tansy Angelique Itsimaera – gender equality, Miss Solomon Islands – Emily Chan – education, Miss Papua New Guinea – Niawali Anastacia Twain – tourism, Miss Rapa Nui – Tiare Pakarati – politics, Miss Samoa – Alexandra Iakopo – culture, Miss Cook Islands – Enerstina Pokuia Bonsu-Maro – climate change action to sustain our islands, Miss Tonga – Ophelia Kitiliti Kava – technology, Miss Fiji – Hally Qaqa – environment, Miss American Samoa – Matauaina Gwendolyn To’omalatai – health.