Brains, beauty and she loves her sports - not a combination usually associated with beauty pageants but this Northlander has it all.

Alyx Pivac holds a Bachelor of Science, is in the Northland Women's National Hockey League (NHL) squad and is a competitive show jumper.

Now the 24-year-old Kauri girl is putting on her heels as a Miss Universe New Zealand finalist.

"The idea of being on stage kind of unnerves me, so this competition has been different," she said.


Alyx said putting on heels instead of sneakers has been a leap of faith. The story of how her two worlds merged is "pretty funny".

"I was going for a run when I was scouted," wshe said. "This guy gave me his business card and when I went home I Googled his name and found out he was the national director for Miss Universe NZ. I thought if this guy thinks I have potential then why not give it a go."

Alyx said after being involved in sport since she was young, Miss Universe was a "bit outside my comfort zone".

"I started playing hockey when I was about five. My Mum got me into it, she's always been really supportive of my extra-curricular activities. Both my parents have," she said.

"We have the NHL tournament in September so we're currently training for that."

But Alyx said it's showjumping that really has her heart.

"I've been showjumping since I could convince my parents to buy me a pony," she said.

Alyx said she now trains her own team of horses and competes in competitions across the country.

"I showjump at Grand Prix level at a national level, supported by the Northland Equestrian Federation.

"I try to get them [my horses] from Northland breeders and support them. I've been really lucky - they all keep jumping for me," she said.

Alyx graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2012 and is half way to gaining a Post-Graduate Diploma in Science with a plan to complete her Masters in 2015.

"This sounds really dorky, but I'm really passionate about science. I just love that science has the ability to fix what is going wrong and it gives you an insight into how things can be fixed," she said. Alyx breaks all pageant stereotypes and the executive and national director of Miss Universe NZ, Nigel Godfrey, said this is what the pageant aims to do.

"We don't just want someone who can stand on stage and look pretty. We want girls who are a true representative of New Zealand and we have intelligent girls in this competition," he said.

Alyx said the best part of the competition is the opportunity to "give back".

"We each put on a charity event to raise funds for Variety -- the children's charity.

"I'm currently working closely with a couple of Northland businesses to put together a charity event in the near future," she said.

The grand final of Miss Universe NZ will take place in Auckland on September 18.