Fijian beauty queen loses crown
Not "Fijian enough"MICHAEL FIELD
A 16-year-old Fijian beauty queen has lost her crown after questions arose over whether she was "Fijian enough".
Schoolgirl Torika Watters, a kailoma or person of mixed European/Fijian heritage, was selected by the Miss World franchise last month, with a judging panel that included New Zealand model Rachel Hunter.
A runner-up, Koini Vakaloloma, will now represent Fiji at the Miss World contest in Mongolia later in the year.
"I would like to state that I have had no involvement in any of this underhand process and that I have been blind to this entire drama going on behind the scenes," Watters said in a statement.
"I had no knowledge of any pre-selection or pre-judging."
Watters says she did not do anything "sneaky or wrong".
She had been delighted to accept the title.
"I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists."
She said pageant director Andhy Blake had told her she had lost the title because Julia Morley of the British-based Miss World organisation said 16-year-olds could not enter.
Watters said this had not been the case when she was asked to enter, and she was now pulling out.
"I was worried about the lies, the deception, the lack of transparency and the lack of professionalism," she says.
Blake told the Fiji Times today that the Miss World committee had been very happy with his work and "really that's a testament in itself".
But one of the judges, Hupfeld Hoerder, told Mai Life magazine said the result may have been pre-determined before the show.
"Torika is the innocent one here. Through all this she's been victimised," Hoerder said.
Watters had not been in the top three, but Blake wanted her "and that since he was the one who spent a lot of time with the girls, he knew who should be the one".
After Watters was named, the Miss Fiji Facebook site had to delete hundreds of comments, saying "violent or racist comments will not be tolerated".
- © Fairfax NZ News
A Stratford man who has been on the run is now wanted for stealing a Nissan 4x4 vehicle.
Netball player Chantelle Ngaia is going to get it on with sportswomen D'arna Te Pau Konui
Invention to help people stay safe in the sun helps girls take out national title
Welcome sign competition entries have left judges with a tough decision
Australian pelicans have flown into Patea and made the river their temporary home.
Should ratepayers fork out for increased security to keep vandals at bay in Pukekura Park?Related story: Cameras set to catch vandals
Get your mid week news fix
Get your South Taranaki news online
with Rachel Stewart
with Gordon Brown
Matt Rilkoff's perspective of contemporary life
With Kathryn Calvert
The self-confessed bard of Brixton, offers views on life, politics and Akubra hats.
with Glenn McLean