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Contesants in the Miss South Pacific Pageant in Suva, Fiji appeared in traditional attire during public judging on Thursday night.

... me is that once we get educated, we seem to get westernised and forget our values, cultures and traditions. If we forget our cultures and traditions we will basically lose our identity. By getting educated, we should empower others especially those in the villages to preserve and maintain our cultural and traditional values. Through education and awareness we can overcome the challenges. I would balance my progress in education with my sound and strong cultural background. Our diverse and unique cultures have to be preserved and passed on to the generations to come.

Miss Solomon Islands - Millicent Barty
Attire: Barty through her attire showed the importance of shell money to the Solomon Islands in the early days. A combination of white, black and brownish shell money and feathers which signify the diverse cultures of the Solomon Islands made up her outfit.
Question: Lifestyle diseases are becoming more prevalent in the Pacific; suggest ways in which these diseases can be reduced?
Answer: Health issues are indeed very important and need to be addressed for the well being of our Pacific. We need to raise more awareness and educate the people living in the rural areas about the lifestyle diseases and the ways in which they can be avoided.

Miss Samoa - Tusisaleia Pomele
Attire: Pomele’s blue outfit inspired by the tropical parrot fish (called Funa in Samoa) conveyed the message of environment preservation in the Pacific way. The stunning outfit was made of hibiscus tree, natural fibres and fabrics.
Question: What aspects of your culture would you use to draw tourism to the Pacific and why?
Answer: In Samoa, you are able to identify an individual by the way they talk and walk. Individual attributes like personality, elegance and of course the Pacific hospitality which is well known in the world can be used to attract tourists to our beautiful island nations.

Miss French Polynesia - Aruhoia Biret
Attire: Biret appeared on stage dressed in traditional Tahitian dancing attire. The red and white outfit resembled the Teva clan to which Aruhoia belongs.

Question: In most Pacific cultures, the preservation of traditional knowledge is important. Suggest ways of protecting this?
Answer: We should learn about our traditions from the beginning at primary school level. In Tahiti, the first language taught is the local language (Tahitian). We also need to learn about the ceremonies and ceremonial education is also important to keep our cultures and traditions alive.

Miss Tuvalu - Akelita Pasega
Attire: Pasega wore a traditional outfit worn by young Tuvaluan women with prestigious status. The outfit made from coconut fibre and the plants from the beautiful island of Tuvalu portrayed the message- “Anything is possible if we do it the Pacific way.”

Question: Domestic violence in the Pacific makes women and children vulnerable. How would you advocate against this?
Answer: As an ambassador, I will urge to see this issue as the most urgent issue to address as we won’t prosper without safeguarding our children and women. Women have to be protected as they are the right hand of the world.

Miss PNG - Antonnia Singut
Attire: Singut displayed a contemporary traditional outfit which represented the four regions of Papua New Guinea. She also carried a lime pot which stores lime powder used to make beetle-nut.

Question: In your opinion, what are the major obstacles in raising HIV awareness in the Pacific?
Answer: The main obstacle is our cultural taboo. It has been the biggest and most difficult obstacle as sex is also seen as a taboo. For me especially as a young woman, I would really find it hard to go out in public and raise awareness because it will be hard to open up on issues with the common people. A lot awareness and education is needed.

Miss Kiribati - Taumuri Tetuai
Attire: Tetuai walked up the stage in simple yet elegant traditional outfit made out of coconut fibre, seashells and she wore matching accessories to complement her attire.
Question: Would you be happy to have a house husband whilst you pursued a career and provided for the family?
Answer: Yes I would be very happy to have a house husband as he would be able to help me to look after the kids while I would perform the other household chores.

Miss Tonga - Paea Williams
Attire: Williams was beautifully dressed in a traditional outfit made out of island material, coconut shells, hibiscus tree and had bird feathers stuck on her head to complement the attire.

Question: If you were to be on the cover of any magazine in the world, what magazine would that be and why?
Answer: I would love to be on the cover of any South Pacific magazine so I can showcase not only myself but the beautiful islands of the Pacific to the whole world.

Miss Aotearoa - Paretaunu Randall
Attire: Randall displayed her traditionally woven outfit which expressed the cultural, physical and spiritual connections of the Pacific. She beautifully demonstrated her outfit well with facial and body language.

Question: What do you think are the essential elements of an effective Pacific leader and why?
Answer: An effective leader always has to ensure that people come first for him and that he/she sees all as one. He/she also has to ensure that the cultures and traditions of the people are maintained so our cultures and traditions can be passed on to our children and grand children.

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