Balancing her conservation work at Te Ipukarea Society, her commitments outside of work and her responsibilities as Miss Cook Islands 2017 is a huge challenge, but one Alanna has taken up with equal amounts of poise and aptitude.
This month she will head off to Sanya, China to attend the 67th edition of the Miss World Pageant. She will travel to several provinces in China along with 120 contestants and will take part in various competitions. The crowning night is scheduled for Saturday, November 18.
Alanna is also tasked with finding the finance for her attendance at the Miss World Pageant. Competition costs include personal grooming, traditional costumes, beach wear and day and evening wear.
Her fundraising effort got off to a great start on Saturday, when a generous donation was made by the Tupapa Centre Housie committee. When patrons turned up to the housie session which is held every Saturday afternoon, they were told by organiser Tere Strickland that the afternoon’s profits would be donated to Alanna’s Miss World campaign.
“It was a very generous offer,” says Alanna. “Especially given that Tupapa Centre housie normally use their profits to improve facilities in their village and to donate to Tupapa people who have been hard done by.”
Strickland says Team Alanna earlier approached him to ask if they could hold a housie fundraiser for Alanna. He explained they usually conduct two types of games - a “Super Housie” which is expensive and takes time to set up, or a “normal” housie which can just be held on the day. But first he needed approval from the Tupapa Centre Housie committee, as well as sports clubs in Tupapa.
“Of course we had to look at both sides,” said Strickland. “But the main thing was they confirmed for it to go ahead as she was representing the Cook Islands.”
Alanna’s dad and mum, Ross and Taiora Smith, prepared curry and drinks for sale, while the Tupapa Centre Housie committee took care of everything else.
“I put Alanna to work, selling specials,” said Strickland. “But it was also a way for her to meet the community, some of whom have probably never met her before. But also, so that who they knew who they were giving funds for.”
“This was my first housie fundraiser,” said Alanna. “It was quite the experience: There were a lot of numbers being thrown out, it was going too fast for me. There are definitely some very skilled people at housie here.”
“Overall, it was a very successful day,” said Strickland. “She is taking our name to Miss World, and it has been an honour to be part of her campaign.”
Alanna would like to thank the Tupapa Centre Housie committee and patrons for hosting this fundraiser for her. “It means a lot to me.”
She says the support she has received from the Tupapa Centre Housie has certainly been a morale booster and reinforced for her the value of community support.