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Diamond Langi wins Miss Universe New Zealand 2019

Filed by Lucire staff/August 17, 2019/12.24

Alan Raga

Above, from top: Diamond Langi is crowned by 2018 titleholder Estelle Curd. Diamond Langi gives her first wave after being crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2019. Runners-up Charissa Rehu, Jayda Ormsby-Northcott, Hannah McCabe and Lydia Smit flank the new titleholder.

In the most tightly fought Miss Universe New Zealand competitions in years, 27-year-old Auckland stylist Diamond Langi was crowned the 2019 titleholder, with Blenheim police officer Hannah McCabe as runner-up. Wellington-based administrator Jayda Ormsby-Northcott placed third.
   The competition was so close that the five judges had to deliberate away from the audience several times during the show, which was live-streamed globally via the Miss Universe New Zealand website.
   Langi is of Tongan heritage and holds a master’s degree in styling, and is studying for a bachelor’s in acting and performing arts. She is also a talented musician.
   The judging panel comprised of Talent Tree founder and former Miss Universe New Zealand director Evana Corric as the key judge, Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson, proprietor of the Shakespeare Hotel and businessman Sunny Kaushal, Essential Talent managing director Shaun O’Neill, and choreographer Jane Strickland.
   Performances tonight included songs from Eden Kavanagh, fresh from her appearances on The Voice UK and the gala fund-raiser This Is Who We Are earlier this year, and Variety Gold Heart scholarship recipient Verity Howells.
   Couturier Sidney Eculla returned to design the finalists’ gowns, as well as the one worn by co-MC Holly Pollock, from TV3’s The Café.
   Miss Universe New Zealand CEO Nigel Godfrey wore an extra hat tonight by MCing the event with Ms Pollock.
   During the year, the finalists had visited Phuket, Thailand. They also learned first-hand about the issues at Ihumātao, by visiting the site on Wednesday, covered by TVNZ 1 News and Stuff.
   Langi succeeds Auckland-based CRM and HR manager Estelle Curd, who appeared on stage with the hosts with a farewell interview.
   A touching haka was performed for Ormsby-Northcott by whānau in the audience at the end of the show.
   Lydia Smit, a 22-year-old student, and Charissa Rehu, a 24-year-old former flight attendant, placed fourth and fifth respectively.
   Miss Universe New Zealand is decided 50 per cent by public vote, and 50 per cent by the judges.
   Langi heads into a shoot on Sunday with photographer Alan Raga as her first duty as the new titleholder, and will represent Aotearoa New Zealand at Miss Universe later this year.


Estelle Curd crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2018

Filed by Lucire staff/August 4, 2018/11.47

Alan Raga

Estelle Curd, a CRM, HR and H&S manager from Auckland, has been crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 in front of a live audience at Skycity Theatre, watched by a local network TV audience on Bravo TV New Zealand and around the world on a live stream.
   The 27-year-old master’s degree holder entered for the first time in 2014.
   Curd said, ‘I entered four years ago but did not get into the Top 10. I came back knowing what sort of woman I wanted to be.’
   She said she found the experience the second time around ‘empowering’ but did not expect to win.
   Curd takes the keys to a new Citroën C3 for the year of her reign, along with prizes from Caithy Organics, Arture, Beau Visage, Lovelysmiles, Nygle Skincare, and couturier Sidney Eculla, among others.
   Milena Taryan, an Armenian-born New Zealander from Wellington, was runner-up. Ms Taryan, 26, is a dental assistant and ballroom dance teacher.
   Lucy Brock, 23, placed second runner-up.
   Rounding off the top five were Jewel Harris, who won the Entrepreneurial Challenge and raised a record amount for Variety, the Children’s Charity, and Nurul Shamsul, the competition’s first hijabi entrant.
   Sonia Gray hosted the live event, while audiences were treated to performances from Frankie Stevens, Razé, Russell Dixon, and Le ART.
   Stevens joined the judging panel alongside talent manager Evana Patterson, make-up supremo and SRA founder Samala Robinson, model, actress and Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson, and former Miss Universe New Zealand finalist, designer and DJ Prerna Sinha Raniga.
   In the six years since Miss Universe New Zealand was revamped, the competition has raised over $175,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity.
   This year’s finalists also enjoyed a retreat in Thailand, with the help of Tourism Thailand Experts, and hosts Pathumwan Princess Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya.


Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 retreat: fireworks in Pattaya

Filed by Lucire staff/June 14, 2018/10.55

Alan Raga

The second leg of Miss Universe New Zealand’s 2018 retreat took place in Pattaya. Asia Holidays got the finalists there, along with current titleholder Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia (Miss Universe New Zealand 2017) and former runner-up Seresa Lapaz, hosting a yacht cruise with cocktails en route, before everyone checked in to the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya.
   The first evening’s dinner was hosted by the Amari Hotel, with the finalists reaching their destination using the local transport. Fireworks lit up the sky that evening over the Hard Rock Hotel in celebration.
   Hotel Baraquda Pattaya hosted them for their second dinner on day five—a particularly sumptuous one—before they headed back to the Hard Rock Hotel at 9 p.m. for more fireworks by the pool in 35°C heat.
   Their most cultural day at Pattaya was day six, with the floating market starting the day at 9 a.m. After an afternoon photo shoot, the finalists headed to the Kaan Theatre for dinner (at Greyhound Restaurant) and its spectacular two-hour show combining live action and cinema, exploring Thai history and legends. They finished the evening with a photo shoot with the cast.
   Day seven was at Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, with photo shoots by the Soul Lounge, lobby, pool, the Rock Wall, and the hotel entrance. The hotel hosted lunch and a cocktail party, the ladies’ last official engagement in the Thai resort town.
   The Grand Final of Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be held on August 4 at Skycity Theatre, networked in New Zealand on Bravo, and streamed globally through this site and others.

Day 5

Alan Raga

Day 6

Alan Raga

Day 7

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Day 8

Alan Raga


Last night in Bangkok for Miss Universe New Zealand’s 2018 finalists

Filed by Lucire staff/June 8, 2018/13.46

Alan Raga

Miss Universe New Zealand’s Thailand retreat continued with the Top 20’s final day in Bangkok.
   The finalists had a more relaxed morning before heading to Hua Chang Heritage Hotel for a 1 p.m. lunch.
   Then it was shopping time, with the top management of MBK hosting the finalists at the MBK Center.
   The evening’s programme saw the finalists on the Chaophraya dinner cruise, a luxury five-star cruise on the Chaophraya river on board the Grand Chaophraya, which included live entertainment and dancing, before retiring to their Bangkok base at the Prathumwan Princess Hotel.
   Alan Raga’s photographs, some of them hitherto unpublished, capture the finalists’ last day before embarking to Pattaya.

Alan Raga


Serenity on the Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 retreat in Thailand

Filed by Lucire staff/June 6, 2018/23.40

Alan Raga

Miss Universe New Zealand’s 2018 retreat in Thailand continued its first leg in Bangkok, with finalists heading out from their base at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel on day two to the nearby Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, for a lunch and dessert. More photo shoots took place from the afternoon, before returning to the Pathumwan Princess Hotel for a cocktail party and activities at its Olympic Club.
   Day three was deeply meaningful to many of the finalists, as well as the reigning Miss Universe New Zealand, Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, when they headed to Dhammagai Temple, immersing themselves in Buddhist culture, including a one-hour meditation session. It was a requirement that they all dressed in white (which was organized by the temple). They toured the One Million Buddha Pagoda and participated in an almsgiving. The temple hosted a well-being lunch, before the president of the Dhamakaya & Global Light of Peace group welcomed the finalists, and invited Miss Universe New Zealand CEO Nigel Godfrey, and whomever will win the 2018 title, to participate in their event in Australia in September 2018, and the Buddhist lighting festival in Thailand in February 2019.
   The day of relaxation hadn’t finished: from 3 p.m., they attended the Let Relax Spa at the Mandarin Hotel. The Mandarin Hotel Bangkok hosted dinner for the contestants, before they headed off to Asiatique for shopping.
   Once again, Lucire features official photographs by Alan Raga, including some that have not been published till now.

Alan Raga


Fierce and fit in Bangkok as Miss Universe New Zealand touches down on retreat

Filed by Lucire staff/June 5, 2018/10.51

Alan Raga

On June 4, the 20 finalists of Miss Universe New Zealand flew to Bangkok for this year’s retreat, staying at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel for the first leg of their trip. Joining them were the reigning Miss Universe New Zealand, Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, and former runner-up Seresa Lapaz.
   The staff at Thailand Élite gave the ladies a special welcome as they arrived at the airport in Bangkok, and sped everyone through passport control and customs. Asia Holidays arranged the transport to the hotel, while the ladies had the Silom Night Market and Asiatique—the Riverfront on their itineraries, dining at Ko Dang Talay.
   Day two saw finalists get to know the Pathumwan Princess Hotel properly, checking out what they offered by way of fitness: not only does the hotel lay claim to the finest fitness facilities in Bangkok on its eighth floor, the Olympic Club boasts a 9,000 m² space, with 100 workout stations, rooftop tennis courts, jogging tracks, and a 25 m saltwater swimming pool.
   Lucire will report from Bangkok and Pattaya as the retreat progresses, with photos that add to the story on social media.
   Supporting their journeys are sponsors including the Slumber Crew in Auckland, which hosts fun sleepovers, and Libby’s Fine Jewellery, specialists in finely crafted and lovingly created jewellery, at a location we know very well on Lake Road in Takapuna. Libby’s were behind the engagement ring of The Bachelor New Zealand’s Art Green and winner Matilda Rice.
   Kingstons, quantity surveyors and construction cost consultants, has come on board as a Gold Sponsor for Miss Universe New Zealand. Platinum Sponsors Caithy Organics and Arture provide some of the beauty products for the finalists; promotional consideration has also been provided by Samala Robinson Academy. More updates can be found via Miss Universe New Zealand’s Facebook page.

Alan Raga


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