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Ria van Dyke is the new Miss Universe New Zealand


June 5, 2010/13.43

Jin Cowan

Top Ria van Dyke, Miss New Zealand 2010. Centre Runner-up Danijela Unkovich, Miss East Auckland; Samantha Powell, co-MC and Miss New Zealand 2008; Ria van Dyke, Miss New Zealand 2010; Katie Taylor, Miss New Zealand 2009; second runner-up Caren Freeman, Miss Auckland. Above This year’s contestants after the crowning.

Auckland-based Ria van Dyke, sponsored by Wellington company Econo-Heat, has taken the Miss Universe New Zealand title for 2010 in front of a packed audience in the capital’s Duxton Hotel on Saturday.
   Miss East Auckland, Danijela Unkovich, is runner-up, while Miss Auckland, Caren Freeman, is second runner-up.
   Miss van Dyke, 21, holds a BA (Hons.) with distinction in psychology and sociology. She will now represent New Zealand at Miss Universe in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 23.
   After celebrating, Miss van Dyke returns to Auckland to complete two essays due Monday for her master’s degree.
   Val Lott, director of the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant, says, ‘I am delighted with the decision, and to understand it was unanimous makes me even happier.’
   Ms Lott says she was very impressed with the reception and support Wellingtonians have given to the pageant.
   Jack Yan, publisher of Lucire, headed the judging panel. ‘Ria did extremely well and was consistent from the swimwear section on Friday night, through a gruelling interview at the Museum Hotel, to tonight’s final at the Duxton,’ he says.
   He says that Miss van Dyke speaks from the heart and has the level of international experience that makes her ideal for Miss Universe New Zealand 2010.
   He served on the panel with stylist Samantha Hannah, model scout Evana Patterson, international judge Dina Janse van Rensburg, and Salute Hair director Carl Manderson.
   The judges said that the calibre was very high this year, with very fluent and well spoken contestants.
   One contestant, Miss Radio Tarana, Nafeesa Moses, already holds a master’s degree, and both Miss van Dyke and Miss Wellington, Regan Hillyer, are studying toward theirs.
   Rounding out the top six—the judges said they could not select only five this year—were Candace Trewhitt, Miss Horowhenua–Kapiti; Isabelle Pearson, Miss Tuscany Road Putaruru; and Zeisha Frémaux, Miss Moontide.
   The show was MCed by TVNZ’s Matt McLean and Miss Universe New Zealand 2008 Samantha Powell.
   Katie Taylor, Miss Universe New Zealand 2009, delivered a touching speech on her experiences since her own crowning last April, which included meeting Sir Richard Branson, the Black-Eyed Peas, and Beyoncé Knowles. Violinist Marvin Smith and soloist Tyra Wilson performed numbers in musical sections held during the show.

Further images are available for purchase from the official photographer, Jin Cowan, at

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Filed by Lucire staff

32 thoughts on ‘Ria van Dyke is the new Miss Universe New Zealand

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  3. What a joke! If this is our Miss NZ, then we have no chance of winning Miss Universe!

  4. I have always thought Ria was one of the most beautiful woman I had ever met in the world,and so very charming and pleasant.They could not have picked a mor deserving person.
    I am very proud of her.

  5. The choice was correct with the young ladie that is now Miss New Zealand..Joe

  6. New Zealand will be honered to have this most stunning girl as ‘Miss Universe New Zealand 2010’ representing NZ for a year. She is absolutly beautiful.

  7. New Zealand is fortunate to have such a wonderful and beautiful young lady representing their country! Ria is extremely deserving of this title and I wish her all the best!

  8. Ria looks stunning! I have been friends with Ria since we were 5..such a beautiful woman (inside and out) to represent Aotearoa!

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  10. Wow! Ria is sooooo beautiful. What a treasure she is for NZ! When I saw the girls on Nightline the other night I knew she would win! And to win the other awards like Miss Charity says alot about her as a person. Well done!

  11. I think Ria Van Dyke looks absolutely stunning, and beautiful, and what a gorgeous feminine dress she chose too. We definitely stand a chance for the next Miss Universe coming from New Zealand. Wouldn’t that be great for all the guys coming over for the Rugby World Cup!!

  12. I watch pageants around the world and you are stunning Ria. You are a winner in my book. New Zealand is so lucky to have such a beautiful girl as you.
    Good luck.

  13. Wow how lucky is New Zealand to have some one who is not only outwardly but inwardly so beautiful representing us. We are so proud of you .
    Good luck for everything

  14. I want to add that Ria excelled in the private interview before us judges on Friday, so she is as smart as she is beautiful.

  15. I met Ria in Wellington before she was crowned at the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant and she took my breath away. She is absolutely stunning to look at, (world class) and as well as being physically attractive, immaculately groomed and poised, she is intelligent, has a sweet soul and beautiful heart. I am amazed at comment by Robbie above, who clearly has no idea of a beautiful woman when he sees one.

  16. Congratulations Ria! Well done! I am so proud of you. You are a true contender for a Miss Universe award and I am confident you will do justice to your country in representing New Zealand at the pageant in Las Vegas shortly.

    Not many know that there is so much more to you than the sheer beauty which just radiates from within you! You are also blessed with a haunting, undefinable inner beauty, an overflowing intelligence, a successful University career and a humility that just defines you.

    Good luck – You are already a winner in my books!

  17. We are so proud of you Ria. You are going to be an amazing ambassador for New Zealand. We will be following your progress every step of the way. You are an intelligent, deserving, beautiful and genuine young lady. All our love and hugs R&R, Hamilton NZ xxxx

  18. A truly wonderful, genuine, intelligent and beautiful young lady. I have known Ria since she was born. Her morals and standards are of a very high class and always have been. The judges surely made the best choice in choosing Ria to represent our Country. All my love and Best Wishes Ria. May God Bless you abundantly.

  19. Congratulations on wonderful achievment.
    I knew you could make it.
    Best wishes at Las Vegas, for University studies, and for your future.
    God bless you. Jeff and Diana

  20. She is the most beautiful conteatant NZ has ever seen in years and years. Im sure she will stun audiences with her inner and outer beauty, she has every chance of taking the Miss Universe title. Fab choice NZ and goodluck to her.

  21. I am so happy to see comments from others showing how we feel the same way about Ria’s beautiful person, and how she is such a great representative of humankind. We just need the judges in Las Vegas to experience the same Ria that we know and value here in New Zealand. Knowing Ria, she will just be her most beautiful self, and all will be very impressed, how could they not be!!!

  22. I don’t personally know Ria, but because of my correspondence with her mother, I know a great deal about her. The beauty we all see comes from within, her heart, and that’s what makes her so special. A genuine winner for New Zealand. My sincerest congratulations and best wishes for the future.God bless you and protect you sweetie.

  23. Since when do we “complete essays” for a master’s degree anyway? Sounds like a crock. Maybe in the USA, but in New Zealand, we write theses.

  24. Wishing her all the luck. She is so stunning and looks more appealing than the usual woman we see on the tele.She looks sultry yet demur. Almost exotic but not quite.

  25. Phil, this is what Ria told us and I believe we have reported this fairly.
       I have looked in to the MA in sociology at the University of Auckland, and it is divided into two parts. In order to do the (one-year) MA, you have to complete a BA (Hons.) year. Without bothering her on specifics, I assume she is writing essays as part of the first year. Her target is the MA.
       This certainly gels with when I was at university doing postgrad at Vic in the 1990s. Some of my fellow students doing what was called an MCA (Hons.) followed this path, spending the first year completing essays. So to answer your question, master’s students have been completing essays in New Zealand before 1994. Sorry if this sounds like a crock to you.
       I opted to do a full MCA and retain my old BCA (Hons.), which meant writing a thesis. In short, there are different requirements for different courses. We can’t presume that our own experience applies to every single master’s programme in New Zealand.

  26. Robbie you are a very bad person and your a joke. Ria is probably way prettier than a lot of people you and a lot of these people that comment dont know how to spell

  27. Responding to comment of “Phil”, number 26.I don’t think you know what your talking about. In the USA we write thesis, and not “theses”. Ria is too much of a lady to correct you, but I will. I would suggest you check with Mr. Webster for spelling and meaning. Sorry pal.

  28. Tony, thank you for being a gentleman there and coming to Ria’s defence (defense over there in the States!). Theses is the plural of thesis, so grammatically, Phil got that part right. He did not, however, get his facts right.
       Still, two negative comments (from Robbie and Phil) out of 31 is really impressive! Good luck to Ria—she flies out today!

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