Say hello to our new Miss Whangamata.

Caitlyn de Groen, 17, lives in Thames where she's a lifeguard at the Thames Pool, but holidays in Whangamata and Pauanui.

She was among dozens of contestants who took to the stage at Williamson Park on Sunday in front of a crowd of hundreds for the celebrated contest.

Caitlyn was among friends and says she wasn't nervous as she took to the stage, particularly since it's not her first beach beauty contest.


"I entered last year and didn't place. I've entered Miss Pauanui and won that when I was 15 and also when I was age 9, for the little girls' division.

"I don't mind when I win or lose, I've done it since I was little and it's something to do over the summer."

A substantially smaller contingent of four boys got on stage for the age 8-10 masters division, all of whom won a prize.

There were shouts of encouragement for contestants as they held their numbers aloft - as a trio of judges had the difficult task of picking a winner, a runner-up and a third placegetter for each division.

The judging panel was made up of an ex-Miss Whangamata contestant, Lily Spiers, Jo Jensen and Greer Macanelly.

With prizes donated by Stirling Sports and other local businesses, the event was sponsored by Whangamata Real Estate after it was dropped as a feature of Whanga Week by the Surf Life Saving Club, which wanted to focus on sporting events.

An organiser of 34 years, Richard Skelly says the event was also popular and its $5 entry fee has furnished the club with vital surf lifesaving equipment for many years before lottery funding became available.