Night to cherish for new queens
The sparkle of the tiara wasn't the only thing to shine on stage as Levana Hampson was crowned Miss Manawatu 2014 last night.
With elaborate hairstyles, flawless faces and stunning gowns, 35 young women and girls lined up in towering heels with the hope of taking home the coveted crown of Miss Manawatu or Miss Teen Manawatu at The Regent on Broadway.
Hampson, and Nadia Darby, who was crowned Miss Teen Manawatu, were both overwhelmed with their wins.
"I'm speechless. I'm still trying to take it all in. I didn't even recognise my own name," Hampson told the Manawatu Standard after the announcement.
"It's such a huge blessing to be able to become more part of the community. I'm just going to really give it a go, do my hardest and learn more about the Manawatu."
The night of the pageant had been amazing and she'd felt calm and collected, said Hampson, who by day works at the Shoe Clinic as a shoe technician.
It was the weeks leading up to it and other pageant events that were nerve-racking for the 23-year-old.
"I was approached about doing [Miss Manawatu] and my first idea of the competition was quite negative, but there's a lot more to it than what you think.
"I think all of us wouldn't mind if nobody won. We are such a tight group."
With more than 800 people through the door, the show's director, Kate Balfour, said the evening was yet another success.
"It was another good year, it always is," she said.
"Miss Manawatu is such a huge success, it's one of the biggest and most supported regionals in the country and I am absolutely proud of all the girls, they work so hard."
Last year's Miss Manawatu Louise Nelson said she was sad but excited to be passing on her crown.
"I'm very excited to give another lady the opportunity to have the year I've had. I wish I could be Miss Manawatu forever, it's been amazing."
Miss Universe New Zealand general counsel Jack Yan said the event was incredibly well organised and he looked forward to seeing Miss Manawatu in the national competition.
Security concerns were raised at the theatre after a man climbed on to the stage during an announcement, claiming he "just wanted to talk for five minutes", before being escorted off stage.