Miss Universe New Zealand 2017

Napier kohanga reo teacher Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia has been crowned Miss Universe NZ 2017. Twenty women took part in the Grand Final of the event at the SkyCity Theatre on Saturday night with 19-year-old Ihaia coming out on top.

Ihaia told the Herald straight after the competition that she was "in a daze". "It's indescribable. I feel like I've made my family so proud, I feel that all of my hard work has paid off and I just feel really relaxed at the moment that I've finally made it."

As the new Miss Universe NZ she hoped to create a new perception of beauty. "To break the image of every young teenager wanting to be the next Kylie Jenner, I just want to prove that we can all be ourselves and to inspire, hopefully, the world," she said.

"I just feel like I'm in a dream at the moment. I'm going to wake up in the morning and I don't even know what I'm going to feel."

Ihaia wins a limited addition Honda Jazz RS Sport and will do four overseas trips, including to the grand international final, as Miss Universe NZ.

The 66th Miss Universe will be held on November 26 at a yet-to-be announced venue.

MissUniverseEd Dominguez