Lawyer Libby Rose of Tralee
A last-minute decision has proved a winning one for an Invercargill lawyer, who has been named this year's Southland Rose of Tralee.
Libby Fraser said her win on Saturday night was "a bit crazy". The surreal moment came after the 24-year-old added her name as a contender at the last minute.
"My mum has wanted me to enter for a long time," she said.
The event is named after the 19th century Irish ballad about a girl called the Rose of Tralee because of her beauty. The winning Rose is the woman deemed to best match the attributes of the rose, as the song goes, "lovely and fair".
Fraser dazzled the audience and judges with her flute and singing skills as well as her knowledge of her family's Irish history. Surrounded by her family, wearing her green sash and tiara, Fraser was proud of her Irish heritage.
"It was nice to be able to do something for my family."
Before entering, she knew little about her family's Irish roots.
"It's actually been really good to find out - makes it more significant," she said.
A book written by a family member was her guide to the ins and outs of her family history. A people lover and occasional hula-hooper, Fraser said she hoped to bring some fun into her role as the Rose of Tralee.
"I've grown up here so I feel like I know it and it's home."
The Invercargill native was excited to branch out and do public appearances and speeches, although she was not much of a public speaker, she said.
A self-described low-key person, she would have to get used to the tiara, gowns and heels, she said.
"Mum said 'well, you've always wanted to wear a crown' ... but that's not true. I don't think I wanted to be a princess."
Fraser will represent Southland in the national competition in Christchurch on May 30 and 31.