Beauty pageants have come a long way since the days of scantily-clad women smiling inanely and making cringeworthy statements about saving the world and feeding starving children.

These days many pageants emphasise more than just beauty, encouraging contestants to be involved in community and charity work and show leadership, academic and cultural prowess.

Rotorua has a long and illustrious history of beauty queens, with the late Maureen Waaka a former Miss New Zealand.

This year sees the return of Miss Rotorua 2017 after a decades-long absence, with more than 30 young women signing up to be part of it, as we reported yesterday.

Advertisement

Over the next 10 weeks they will be trained in charity work, leadership, modelling and Maori protocol - skills considered essential to represent our city on a wider stage.

What a great opportunity. They are all skills - bar the modelling for those of us never likely to grace to stage or magazine cover - that many could benefit from.

Being a woman in 2017 means being free to choose how to live your life and not having to apologise for it. Miss Rotorua contestants are choosing to take on a fun challenge with like-minded women, gain self-confidence, develop new skills and for the winners there is the added bonus of international travel.

All power to them.