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Miss Universe New Zealand 2012, day 5: overcoming medical emergencies


NEWS
Filed by Jack Yan/June 1, 2012/15.40




Top Safer communities together: the local constabulary meets the Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 contestants. Above Judge Danijela Unkovich, Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 runner-up, enters Bella Bloom, the pageant’s official florist, with the contestants.

Day five of Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 began in crisis mode as the messages came through: five contestants sick with a tummy bug. Judge May Davis has sprained her ankle after a fall and is in serious pain. If there was a day that Dr Wayne Morris, our sixth judge, could arrive, it was today.
   All but one of the contestants still made it for the Johnsonville Shopping Centre presentation, which afforded my fellow judge Danijela Unkovich and I to purchase rehydration tablets for those affected by a stomach bug, to complement the medication pageant director Val Lott had bought earlier in the morning. This year’s event wasn’t as kid-packed as last year’s, which coincided with school holidays, though, as expected, the Johnsonville public—including the local constable—was fascinated and enjoyed the show. Photographer David von Garratt also joined us at the event.
   Miss Universe New Zealand 2011 Priyani Puketapu joined us today, too, with her first official function at Johnsonville, and spoke of her trips to Brazil, Singapore and South Korea during her reign.
   We also paid a visit to Bella Bloom, the official florist of Miss Universe New Zealand 2012, where we were surprised to learn another skill from Miss Manawatu, Miriam Schröter (right): her father had been a florist and she had worked at his shop. She was very much at home.
   Heading back to the Museum Art Hotel, and prior to Wayne’s arrival from Dunedin, I did my best doctor impersonation and got the affected entrants to replenish their electrolytes. In the next half-hour, the decision was made to hold the interviews from May’s hotel suite, where her left leg could be raised in bed.
   After an examination of the sick entrants by Wayne, and then of May’s injured ankle—in which Wayne wrote a prescription on Museum Art Hotel note paper, which the hotel then had promptly filled—we kicked off, slightly later than planned. (I had only seen this doctor’s trick pulled in Arthur Hailey’s Hotel, but, with the right details, it obviously works.)
   In the most unusual interview session in my six years at Miss Universe New Zealand, May conducted her interview from her hotel bed, while I, Danijela, stylist Samantha Hannah, Wayne, and Salute Hair & Day Spa director Carl Manderson put our seats on one side. The contestant sat on the other. Needs must, and all that. It worked—and if we are to expect adaptability from the winner on Sunday night, we had better set an example ourselves.
   I was right in predicting that it would be hard to pick a winner. The interviews were revealing in that we began to understand each contestant’s qualities more.
   I told one contestant tonight something that I want to share with all of them. ‘Say that last year most of the entrants were mildly confident, and had all the other qualities we looked for, but one was extremely confident. Who do you pick? The extremely confident one. She has a quality above all others.
   â€˜What if this year, all entrants were extremely confident? What sets them apart? Is it intellectual depth, enthusiasm, or national pride? Which quality do we pick as being the one that rises above the rest?’
   The analogy is not inaccurate. Things can still change between today and Sunday night’s final show. The distance between first and second, or, for that matter, first and tenth, might not be that great, given the quality of this year’s entrants. Each contestant has come from a different background, has very different life experiences, and brings a unique mixture of qualities. Our very hard job is to determine which ones will set New Zealand’s representative apart.
   The day concluded with down-time at Courtenay Place bar Mishmosh, at which Maitland Waters joined us. Saturday will see a swimsuit parade at the Museum Art Hotel, and a determination from Wayne on whether May needs an X-ray. Soprano Sophie Morris, who will perform three numbers on the final night, arrives in Wellington.—Jack Yan, Publisher




Above, from top Renee Cummings, Miss Wairarapa 2012, talks to one of the mall’s younger visitors. Avianca Böhm (Miss Howick) and Danijela Unkovich (Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 runner-up and a pageant judge) converse in the foreground, while Lauren Mann (Miss Wellington) spots the camera in the background. Choreographer Sarah Melville-Smith and Bella Bloom’s Toni Moncur.

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