The third full day of events for Miss New Zealand 2012—and I do mean full, since it began with morning rehearsals and concluded with a tasteful and elegant evening gown show for Shika Braddock Couture in the presence of HE the Thai Ambassador—was punctuated with a visit from comedian and actor Billy Connolly, and an informative visit to Te Papa.
Connolly is, like so many famous celebrities, humble and gentle, quite unlike the stage persona most see. I’m not sure whether he was impressed that I told him I liked him in one of the last Columbo episodes, but I somehow doubt that that preyed on his mind today.
A visit to Te Papa, thanks to Bridget MacDonald, Hamish Timmons, and our guide Phil, was very different from the previous year’s, giving even the returning contestants new insights into our country’s history and nature.
The dinner tonight was served in-house due to the evening fashion show taking place at 8 p.m. Mr Chung of Noodle Canteen—he owns both the Courtenay Place and Porirua franchises—served up a meal that was not available on the menu to regular buyers, and the MSG-free feast delighted contestants, even if it was relatively chocolate-free compared to yesterday’s birthday festivities.
The evening ended on a high, live-streamed by Catalyst90 on the official Miss Universe New Zealand Facebook page. Shika Braddock Couture’s evening gown show at the Museum Art Hotel was made even more splendid with live music, while Braddock had the opportunity to showcase another side of her design talents after making her name in bridal wear. I sat with the mother of Alex Beaumont, Miss Nature Coast, who rightly delighted at the splendid make-up job done by Suzanne Purser and her team from Clinique, and the hair by Carl Manderson of Salute Hair & Day Spa in Lower Hutt.
I was also joined earlier today by May Davis, a former runner-up in Miss South Africa, and someone experienced in the international pageant scene. Unlike my European focus, May’s recent experience has been Stateside, covering pageants there, and it was wonderful welcoming her back to the fold after a four-year absence. It didn’t take her long to get up to speed or to dispense useful advice from her years working in the pageant world.
Each day has seen real growth in confidence, and a marked decline in nerves, while friendships continue to be forged. On Thursday, Catalyst90 will live-stream an event at Farmers Lambton Quay from 1 p.m. NZST on Facebook, before the contestants head to the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club for a fashion show there, styled by our own fashion editor, Sopheak Seng, with Noa Noa and other labels represented by Fashion Marketing Ltd. Danijela Unkovich, runner-up to Miss Universe New Zealand 2010, joins us on the judging panel beginning with the evening event.—Jack Yan, Publisher