Regional | Rotorua

Mum in emergency housing named Miss Rotorua 2023 winner

A mum living in emergency housing and battling for a better future for her children has won Miss Rotorua 2023.

On Saturday night Pareuruora Rangirangi was crowned at the iconic, calendar event.

She also clinched the Miss Congeniality and the People’s Choice Awards.

“The feeling was so overwhelming. The crowd took it away for me and I was speechless. As soon as I heard them screaming ... I was shocked,” Rangirangi said.

During the 12 weeks of training for competition night, there were many times her children had to attend rehearsals.

She recalls during stiletto camp her baby was ill and her car ran out of petrol. Despite these barriers, Rangirangi made it to the rehearsal.

Rangirangi’s determination and commitment to Miss Rotorua shone on Saturday amid her dazzling wins.

Miss Rotorua Foundation was a place where women could feel safe to be themselves and it did not matter if someone had been “incarcerated, suffered with addiction, in emergency housing, a solo mum or had experienced domestic violence”.

She said her eye-catching red dress represented staying strong and there were always “two sides of life”.

Rangirangi hoped being part of the pageant told a message that “people have choices” no matter where they come from, she said.

Despite remaining in an emergency housing motel in Rotorua, Rangirangi was hopeful she would be able to move into a rental property soon.

Currently, she must make the heartbreaking choice of which of her kids must stay somewhere else.

Rangirangi had three children staying at the motel, which has a room occupancy rate of four. When her whāngai daughter or stepson wanted to stay overnight they couldn’t and she relied on her mother to help with care arrangements.

This is so the whānau of five does not exceed the four-person overnight occupancy limit in their one-bedroom Rotorua motel unit.

She keeps positive affirmation notes on a mirror in the motel. Rangirangi believes this helped her to gain the winning title on Saturday night.

The affirmations cards represented “dedication, encouragement and remembering who you are doing it for,” Rangirangi said.

“Being humble and giving from the overflow of your cup and not your empty cup. Making sure you have time for you.”

Rangirangi said the pageant was emotionally, mentally and physically challenging. “It challenges you to know who you are as a person and who you are with people.”

Each contestant had to perform in the talent section of the show. Rangirangi performed a vocal singing cover of Beyonce’s Listen. Her favourite moment from Saturday night was watching the other contestants be crowned.

“I really recommend any wāhine do it,” Rangirangi said.

Pageant director Kharl WiRepa said Saturday’s event was “incredible”.

“We had over 900 guests on crowning night. The contestants’ guests came from all over New Zealand to watch.”

He said his favourite moment of the night was the evening wear section.

“They practised so hard and they achieved it,” he said.

WiRepa was “very excited” for Rangirangi’s win of the Miss Rotorua title.

“She will be thrilled and spend the next year inspiring others and working in our community.”

Saturday night raised more than $40,000 towards the Miss Rotorua Trust. The trust was established to help women and whanau through social services in the community.

The other 2023 Miss Rotorua pageant results:

  • Mrs Rotorua 2023 - Autumn James
  • Miss Te Arawa 2023 - Maioha Rauhawa Phillips
  • Miss Mana Wāhine 2023 - Mihikore Te Rangi
  • Miss Teen Rotorua 2023 - Amaleigh Manktelow
  • Miss Multicultural Rotorua - Dushi De Silva
  • Miss People’s Choice - Pareuruora Rangirangi
  • Miss Congeniality - Pareuruora Rangirangi
  • Miss Bay of Plenty -Braxton Te Riini