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Napier puts on a homecoming for Miss Universe New Zealand, Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia

NEWS Under nearly cloudless skies and with hundreds of supporters, Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, the newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand, receives a memorable welcome home
Filed by Lucire staff/August 23, 2017/20.35

Jack Yan

Mayor Bill Dalton, Meka Whaitiri, MP, and other dignitaries held a parade and pōhiri honouring the newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand, Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, in Napier on Wednesday morning.
   The official functions, supported by the Napier City Council, Eastern Institute of Technology, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc., and Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri, began at the city’s iconic Pania of the Reef statue, for which Ihaia’s great-aunt Mei Whaitiri modelled in the 1950s.
   Whaitiri, along with other whānau, were present at the event.
   After the speeches at the initial gathering, the group boarded three prewar cars—a Buick, an Auburn, and a Ford—led by a police escort to a pōhiri and welcome-home ceremony at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Hou.
   Miss Universe New Zealand CEO Nigel Godfrey handed the keys for a Honda Jazz RS Sport Limited over to Ihaia at the pohiri, and the car was subsequently blessed.
   The event was covered by the local press as well as Māori Television and TVNZ.
   Ihaia was crowned on August 12 at Skycity Theatre, before a live audience, with many more following the Grand Final on Bravo and an online stream, through which people in 51 countries watched.
   Ihaia is the first winner from Napier since the competition was revamped under new management in 2013.
   She will compete for the international Miss Universe title in November.

Jack Yan

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