By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu
“Ole vi’iga ile Atua… to God be the glory” were the first words uttered by Miss Samoa, Janine Tuivaiti a few minutes after she was crowned Miss South Pacific 2012-2013, Saturday evening at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium.
Miss Samoa was crowned by outgoing Miss South Pacific, Alisi Rabukawaga of Fiji.
Major sponsor of the event was McDonald’s American Samoa.
Gov. Togiola Tulafono and Deputy Prime Minister and Acting Chairman of the Miss South Pacific Committee, Fonotoe Nu’ufesili Pereira Lauofo each gave briefs remarks at the beginning of the pageant, with the opening prayer offered by Reverend Fouvale Asiata of the Matu’u and Faganeanea CCCAS.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Fagafaga Danny Langkilde and his co-host was Sherry Sele of Bluesky.
Togiola noted that this would be the third time the Miss South Pacific Pageant (MSPP) has been held in the territory during his tenure, and one of the best things about the Miss South Pacific is that “who ever wins, she represents all of us, not just the country where she comes from.”
Fonotoe said the MSPP was established 25 years ago in Samoa by a group of tourism leaders, with the “vision of an event to promote the unique attributes and talents of a Pacific island lady, and also promote the Pacific islands and their cultures as tourist destinations of much heritage and natural beauty.”
He commended the Miss South Pacific 10 contestants, committees, tourism offices across the Pacific, and the major sponsors of the event, as well as thanking the outgoing Miss South Pacific for being an excellent ambassador of the Pacific.
He also acknowledged that the pageant was webcast live on the internet and this is “an opportunity to showcase American Samoa… with an ancient Polynesian culture, pristine natural environment and a proud people.”
The new Miss South Pacific, in tears, told the media that she’s honored and privileged to be the ambassador of the South Pacific. “If this is God’s will, then it is — and if it’s meant to be…. it’s meant to be. I knew I was a winner from the beginning just like all the other nine contestants, because they are ambassadors of their own countries,” she said. “Not every girl can say they participated in the Pacific Pageant, so it was quite an experience and a wonderful time to have spent with the contestants, something I will cherish for all time.”
Miss Tuivaiti, 20, is pursuing a Bachelor conjoint Law and Arts degree at Auckland University with the goal to become a judge. She is also very passionate about music and playing Samoan cricket and volleyball.
The categories which determined the winner included pre-pageant interviews, sarong, talent, traditional wear and the interview question. However, the interview question was not included in the final because of problems during this segment of the MSPP, and only three categories during the pageant were used.
No special award was given for the pre-pageant interview.
Miss Samoa won Best Talent, Best Traditional Wear, whileBest Sarong went to Miss Papua New Guinea Ruby-Anne Laufa.
In other special awards, Miss Internet went to Miss American Samoa; Miss Personality to Miss Hawaiian Islands; Miss Photogenic to Miss Samoa; and National Tourism Award to Miss Papua New Guinea.
Each special award came with $250 cash prize and all of the cash prizes were provided by McDonald’s American Samoa, with restaurants in the territory and Samoa.
The four runner-ups and the winner of the MSPP received major cash awards, which were handed out by Tautolo Aogaleatu Charlie Tautolo, president and owner of the McDonald’s franchise. The new Miss South Pacific received a $2,500 cash prize.
Other standings are:
Miss Cook Islands Kate Ngatokorua —first runner up
Miss Fij, Drue Slatter — second runner up
Miss Papua New Guinea, Ruby-Anne Laufa — third runner up
Miss American Samoa, Arielle Maloata — as fourth runner
Her Best Talent was displayed in song and speech.
In speech, Miss Samoa said that the Pacific’s most uniting treasure is its people praying — no matter what language or form it is in. “For where one’s treasure is, there also will one’s heart be — and prayer requires more of the heart, for prayer is not asking, it’s a longing of the soul.” Miss Samoa noted that her soul’s longing…. her heart… is for her people and her prayer for the Pacific.
Miss American Samoa and Miss Samoa chose to sing the same song “The Prayer” made famous by Celine Dion, with Miss Samoa singing the last part of her song in Italian.
Miss Samoa’s Best Traditional Wear costume was an interwoven black, brown and red dyed sennet, with the base of the attire made from the bark of the mulberry tree and gauze-like fabric from the coconut tree, which she explained was the traditional material used throughout Samoa’s history reflecting the resilience of the Pacific woman. Her accessories, arm band, necklace, and headpiece were aptly designed with fabric from the tree of life, the coconut tree, Miss Tuivaiti said.
Taupou Manaia dancers gave the opening and closing performances, choreographed with contestants as participants. There were also songs performed during the pageant by local entertainers Mel Lavata’i and Elijah Tavai.
Samoa News congratulates the new Miss South Pacific and all the lovely contestants.
See photos in slideshow at bottom of home page.