After liaising with the RSA, which in turn liaised with the Dean of Wellington Cathedral, and the Mayor and the Wellington City Council, this year’s Miss Universe New Zealand contestants were permitted to lay a wreath commemorating ANZAC Day.
Priyani Puketapu (Miss Wellington) and Danelle Kaukau (Miss Horowhenua) were selected to do the honours at the Cathedral, after rain forced the wreath-laying indoors.
Interestingly, one of the contestants, Ashley Bradley (Miss Hutt Valley), nearly completed basic training for the Royal New Zealand Navy till illness forced her out prematurely.
The visit gave me a chance to talk to Richard Woods, the father of a friend of 30 years, and Councillor Paul Eagle, whom I met on the campaign trail last year, both before and after the event.
I believe it was an inspirational and solemn event where the ladies shone, and it was an opportunity for me to observe their behaviour on one of our country’s most important days.
It also helped that the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, offered a speech that had a poignant message about the importance of peace and reminded the congregation of the terrible conditions of the Gallipoli campaign.
Last year, the contestants visited Parliament, which I felt was a very educational experience; this year’s ANZAC ceremony was equally one.
Sarah McIntyre arrived today, meanwhile, to begin choreographing the 13 contestants, while they dined at Joe’s Garage on Tory Street. The Dominion Post has shot all 13, and I imagine they will appear in the morning paper on Tuesday.
I’ll rejoin them tomorrow after having ﬁnished up Monday’s judging duties right after the ANZAC service.—Jack Yan, Publisher