Pearl Lazaro, Eva Parker, Emma Kainuku-Walsh, Brooke Tinomana, Memory Richard, Maruia Willie and Tajiya Sahay are the seven striking Miss Cook Islands 2019 contestants revealed on Saturday evening.
These stunning young women, with their charming and delightful personalities shining through, captivated the large audience of family and friends who showed their appreciation and support with cheers and applause.
So, some brief introductions to the women:
Gabriela Ruta Lazaro appeared reciting a chant. She is representing the beautiful waters of Manihiki and the Northern Group islands. Her father Lazaro Samson was unable to attend the event as he is still in Manihiki, but her mother Tereapii and family joined her on stage. Pearl also participated in Te Maeva Nui for Pukapuka.
Eva Parker, who also has Tahitian ties, introduced herself in French, Maori and English. Her mother hails from Vaka Takitumu and was present at the event along with her sisters. When asked by MC JJ Browne to “tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you,” Parker revealed she had been a vegetarian for more than two years, which amused and delighted the crowd.
Third on stage, Memory Richards is representing Vaka Puaikura. She is the daughter of Tapu Richard. Memory has an interest in reconditioning, remodelling homes, and one of her long term ambitions is to explore house renovations.
Brooke Tinomana is a proud descendant of Mauke and Atiu heritage. Born and raised in New Zealand, she has returned to Rarotonga to connect with her cultural identity. Her grandfather always spoke of his life on the island, which inspired her. She is supported by her family, and aunts Noeline Mateariki and Vaiana George.
Emma Kainuku-Walsh moved to Rarotonga three years ago. She has worked for the Ministry of Health in New Zealand with the national advisory committee on how to incorporate healthy lifestyle into the schools. Her grand aunt Ngamata Kainuku, aunt Amy Kainuku and a big group of supporters appeared alongside her on stage.
Maruia Willie is “very proudly born and raised in my beautiful village of Tupapa Maraerenga/Te au o Tonga”, and is a descendant and the Vakatini Ariki family. Her grandfather is a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) fan, so she grew up watching wrestling, unlike most kids who had Disney movies. Her mother Mina, grandmother Mereana Tangata and supporters also joined her on stage.
Tajiya Sahay is representing Mitiaro/Nukuroa and Tupapa Mararenga. She divulged the creation of her unusual name: her mother wanted to name her Anastajja but was in love with the beautiful monument of the Taj Mahal, so the two names put together … Tajiya. Her mother Ruth Scott, grandmother Tamanu Scott, and stepfather Ngu Marsters stood by her side.