Chloe Manga says competing in a beauty pageant gives her a unique way to talk about indigenous issues and encourage young women to pursue their dreams.
The 24-year-old lawyer from Ahipara is a finalist in the Miss Universe New Zealand competition.
Ms Manga was encouraged by her best friend to enter the pageant.
"The reason I entered the competition was because I saw it as a unique way to talk about issues that are important to me, like indigenous issues.
"But on a broader level to encourage young women to pursue their dreams and be confident in themselves, and that's not just every day 'you're beautiful' but especially with education, don't be afraid to voice your ideas," she said.
Ms Manga, of Te Rarawa and Ngati Kahu descent, went to Ahipara School and Kaitaia College.
She was one of more than 200 people who entered the Miss Universe NZ competition, one of only 50 who made it to the Stiletto Camp, and is one of 20 finalists.
Ms Manga finished her law studies in 2015 and graduated and was admitted to the bar last year.
"I studied a law degree and an arts degree and I was in two minds about whether I pursue the Maori studies and media studies path, or the law path.
"I'm currently at a firm that works for my iwi Ngati Kahu, that was important to me as I was able to balance both my interests."
Last week she spent a day at the Waitangi Tribunal's Te Paparahi o te Raki Northern Inquiry in Kaeo as she helped draft one of the written submissions and went to support her colleague who was presenting the submissions.
She said being part of the inquiry and being at a firm that works for Ngati Kahu was "rewarding".
"For me writing the submissions was quite a long process but seeing the practical effects of it and seeing how much it means for claimants is fulfilling because you're actually making a difference and seeing progress made."
The Miss Universe NZ Grand Final is on August 12. Acacia Walker, who is of Te Rarawa descent and spent a few years in Whangarei, is also a finalist.