Beauty queen keeps title, for now

Last updated 12:00 03/07/2012
Avianca Bohm Miss Universe
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
'OVERSIGHT': Miss Universe NZ winner Avianca Bohm is not a New Zealand citizen.

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The organisers of the Miss Universe pageant have investigated the handling of the New Zealand event and agreed to allow the winner to keep her crown - for now.

Howick resident Avianca Bohm claimed the Miss Universe New Zealand title last month, despite being ineligible because she isn't a New Zealand citizen.

Miss New Zealand event organiser Val Lott initially claimed she had allowed South African-born Bohm to enter but had told judges she couldn't win - something head judge Jack Chan denied.

Lott then tried to get Bohm to relinquish her title, but she engaged lawyers to fight it.

The organisers of Donald Trump's Miss Universe said they had since informed Lott that Bohm could keep her title until August when her citizenship application was expected to be finalised. If successful, Bohm could then represent New Zealand at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas in December.

A spokeswoman for the event called the citizenship bungle a "most unfortunate situation" and said the international pageant organisers wanted to "resolve this matter amicably and as fairly as possible".

Organisers had spoken with Lott, Bohm and her immigration lawyer and understood she had submitted all of her citizenship paperwork and would gain citizenship by August 1.

"While it does not adhere strictly to the rules of the Miss Universe Organisation and should certainly not be viewed as establishing a precedent, in light of all that has transpired, it is our recommendation to our licensee to allow Ms Bohm to keep her title through July at which time the status of her application should be settled.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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