- Publish Date
- Sunday, 13 August 2017, 9:19AM
Napier kohanga reo teacher Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia has crowned Miss Universe NZ.
Twenty women took part in the Grand Final of the event at the SkyCity Theatre on Saturday night with 19-year-old Ihaia coming out on top.
Ihaia told the Herald straight after the competition that she was "in a daze".
"It's indescribable. I feel like I've made my family so proud, I feel that all of my hard work has paid off and I just feel really relaxed at the moment that I've finally made it."
As the new Miss Universe NZ she hoped to create a new perception of beauty.
"To break the image of every young teenager wanting to be the next Kylie Jenner, I just want to prove that we can all be ourselves and to inspire, hopefully, the world," she said.
"I just feel like I'm in a dream at the moment. I'm going to wake up in the morning and I don't even know what I'm going to feel."
Ihaia previously told Hawkes Bay Today the main reason she entered the contest was to inspire females in her family and other young Maori women.
"We can do more than that, I think this will give them the inspiration to do anything they want."
She had entered a variety of competitions in the past but never had any luck until being selected to take part in the national competition.
"I didn't think I was going to get through [and] it was so overwhelming when I found out, I cried for ages."
"In my family most of the girls go to kohanga reo or the meat works for work.
- This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.