The importance of understanding other cultures and yourself were key lessons for Fiji’s Mere Nailatikau at last week’s South Pacific Pageant where she won the main title.
Nailatikau was invited to be chief guest yesterday at a tea party hosted by former students of Yat Sen Secondary School, which she attended in 1999 and 2000.
The reigning Miss Fiji Hibiscus said the school helped her become a confident public speaker which she believes was her biggest strength during the pageant.
Taking part in the pageant was an eye opener because it helped her appreciate the importance of understanding other cultures.
“It’s been a grateful journey after the pageant and I’ve spent the last few days tying up loose ends, spending time with family and friends and planning out for my studies next year and I’m also taking out time attending special invitations from friends and old scholars,” the 24-year-old told Fijilive during the tea party.
“Coming back to my former school is like coming back home. I learnt a lot while studying here and one of which is confidence and public speaking. I also learnt a lot from the pageant and the biggest lesson is the importance of understanding. My journey was a journey of self discovery and I learnt so many things about my culture that I never knew. I then realised that if you know and appreciate your own culture you will appreciate other people’s culture. So it goes the same way as you respect yourself you will learn to respect other people.”
While there is still more to learn about the responsibilities of her role as Miss South Pacific, Nailatikau said the focus now was on the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from December 7 – 18.
“I’m still learning the responsibilities and roles of Miss South Pacific and I’m also keeping my eyes and ears open for the happenings in the community and the lead up to Copenhagen. I hope that the advocates we sent from the Pacific will be heard and I’m hopeful that we’ll come back with a result that’s beneficial for us all.”
She said there was no big celebration for her win.
“There was a ball after the pageant and I had a great time because I celebrated with my fellow contestants. Then I went back to the hotel and went to sleep,” she giggled.
“I had a great Sunday lunch in which my family hosted not only for us but for friends and also some of the press. I just want to acknowledge everyone in my family for the role that...