Talia Bennett, the 1st runner-up at the Miss Universe New Zealand competition in June, was officially crowned as new titleholder and the country’s representative to the Miss Universe pageant to be held in December.
Val Lott, organizer of the beauty pageant, took the opportunity to announce that she is stepping down.
Media reports of her having a minor stroke and the constant media accusations led her to take this decision, stating that she wanted a peaceful life and more time with her husband. Lott had been organizing Miss Universe NZ since 2006.
Meanwhile, the original winner Avianca Bohm said she had not given up the title, and it was all Lott’s decision. Bohm’s right to represent New Zealand in Miss Universe was taken away then the Minister of Internal Affairs denied her the fast-tracking in processing her citizenship papers. Bohm was born in South Africa.
Lott’s retirement leaves the Miss Universe franchise in New Zealand up for grabs. Special thanks to NZ Herald