Brooke Houia of Ngāpuhi and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui is the second Māori beauty queen this month to win a national beauty pageant.
The 20-year-old won the title of Miss Asia Pacific International New Zealand held at the Mangere Arts Centre during the weekend.
“I feel honoured and I feel like I’ve accomplished a goal of mine- to encourage young other Māori wahine out there in Aotearoa," says Houia.
“It’s still a big blur to me now that it happened. So overwhelmed but proud, proud that I get to represent New Zealand at an international stage".
Houia has taken part in three pageants in total, including Miss North Harbour 2015, which she won, and Miss Universe New Zealand 2017, where she placed first runner-up behind the winner Harlem-Cruz Ihaia of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou.
“It feels still unreal that all of the work that I’ve put into it, all the effort has paid off and that it’s all come out into a good result,” Houia says.
Her win comes only a week after Jessica Tyson, of Te Atihanunui-ā-Pāpārangi, won Miss World New Zealand 2018 on May 5.
To prepare for her international pageant, Houia says she is focusing on training at the gym and healthy eating. She’s also working on sourcing outfits for the pageant including evening gowns and a national costume which will incorporate her Māori culture.
The Miss Asia Pacific International pageant focuses on celebrating women through diversity and will take place in the Philippines later this year.
Last year’s New Zealand representative, Acacia Walker, who is also Māori, placed first runner-up at the pageant.