Newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia was welcomed back to her home town of Napier today with a special parade along the main street, a first for the town.
Waving out to her many well-wishers and supporters as the new Miss Universe New Zealand 2017.
“It's actually mind blowing. I can't believe how much people have come today to support my kaupapa but I think the biggest thing is that everyone has come to support my kaupapa and that makes it so rewarding.”
The competition has been revived with an image shake up by dropping categories like the swimwear section as it looks to promote inner beauty as well.
CEO of Miss Universe NZ Nigel Godfrey says, "The big deal was that we were back on television this year with Bravo which was fantastic. It rated really well and people just went, ‘It's back!’ and I guess that people understand now that it's different, it's not just about what you look like."
She also received a rousing welcome from her old school Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Hou based in Napier.
"My main kaupapa was to break the stereotypes of Māori and I think I've done that and now my main kaupapa now is to inspire young Māori not only to dream big but to do it and make steps to achieving those dreams."
As part of her win, she has won a brand new Honda car for the year and will have three international engagements to attend as a representative of NZ.