Compared with 2010, the web buzz is quieter, but the New Zealand mainstream media interest is greater, as Miss Universe New Zealand 2011 Priyani Puketapu actively prepares for her journey to Miss Universe this year in São Paulo, Brazil.
Following her win, Puketapu was ferried in the BMW X3—after three hours’ sleep—to TVNZ’s Breakfast. Hearing that she was in the building, Te Karere wanted an interview—and it’s hardly stopped since for the new Miss New Zealand with further interviews on radio and, more recently, domestically for TV1 and TV3, airing this month.
In mid-May, Lucire visited Puketapu’s family’s marae in Lower Hutt, accompanied by national gown designer Shika Braddock. Puketapu is justiﬁably proud of her Te Ati Awa roots, and showed us the Arohanui Ki Te Tangata marae. She introduced us to her grandfather, John Puketapu, the well known artist whose work is on display at Te Papa, the national museum, and her cousin, who ﬁlled us in on another side of the family renowned for weaving. We also met an aunt, who was able to give Braddock more clues on colours and ﬂowers from Puketapu’s Rarotongan side.
Since then, Puketapu has journeyed to Auckland for two photo shoots, which have netted, among others, the images on this page, photographed by Denise Baynham. More images can be seen at the ofﬁcial site, www.missuniversenz.co.nz. We’ll update readers on further progress as Priyani Puketapu nears her departure date for Brazil.