The sound of the conch shell echoes, the drums rolling, featuring a colour-skinned Pacific Island girl with a see-through hula skirt, a band of coloured flowers around her head.
She moves in a slow rhythm associated with the lali drums, the sound of the ukulele and the fine mats, that roll to make a Pacific beat, as she swings her hips on a white cascading sandy beach with inviting ‘come to paradise’ eyes. In the background stand lush green coconut trees in thousands and the green untouched mountains.
This is the image of the Pacific Islands that attracts a lot of tourists to the Islands.
To capitalize on this image, the countries of the Pacific came up with an idea of setting up an event that is universal to promote the Pacific to the rest of the World. The expression from the beauty pageant highlights art and craft, the creative and original design that accentuates the natural beauty of each island paradise.
It all started in 1988 with a big hit of more than 15 islands around the Pacific participating in the Miss South Pacific Pageant. It is a people orientated pageant, so young generations will still hold on to their traditions and the old ways of doing things. It is treated as a ‘pageant of a difference’ more to the completeness of Pacific women.
The Miss South Pacific Pageant is an annual event hosted by one of the Pacific
countries in turns. This is an opportunity for young women of the Pacific to
voice their opinion on regional and world issues. The beauty of a Pacific island
girl is radiated through a multitude of events that are in effect ingrained through childhood and one’s decisions.
In the Western world, beauty is defined in terms of figure, complexion, intelligence and beauty, in contrast with the Pacific Islands where beauty has a different meaning. This is reflected in the beauty pageant world with judging criteria.
The Miss South Pacific beauty pageant is about more than just being beautiful.
This is where young women from different islands of the Pacific participate
to represent an island’s way of life. This is through the unique designs
that are woven together with the idea of traditions inherited by the old
generations. It builds up self-confidence and self-recognition, but the
overall impact lies in the image of the represented countries in various
The Pageant has several different categories to judge, unlike International
Pageants like the Miss
Universe and the Miss World Pageants. The main idea is to create a step forward for young women as cultural ambassadors in terms of unique traditions and cultures.
The Traditional Wear category contains different designs that iconise a represented island. The best coconut features different designs that leave the audience gasping about how many forms a coconut can be transformed into. A strong indication of cultural awareness places emphasis on the sarong for women, instead of bikinis and tiny swimsuits, which are more of a western image. Known to many as the refinement of art, one of the areas explored during the pageant is the Talent category. A combination of music with hand movements that tell a story, reminds us of a Legend, or a song that brings back memories of a way of life.
Explore the great scenery of the Pacific and see for yourself the beauty of different islands represented in the Miss South Pacific Pageant. Next year the Cook Islands will host the Pageant.