When models are asked what they like to do in their spare time, most wouldn't respond with "eat".

However, Miss Waimarama 2016 was not ashamed to admit that she has a healthy appetite - and this may well have been what endeared her to the 400-strong crowd at Waimarama Beach Day.

Merekingi Harvey-Brewster had no intention of gracing the catwalk in the annual beauty pageant.

"A lady came up to me and told me I should enter and then my cousins just pushed me," the 16-year-old said.


"It was all pretty unexpected, I wasn't even going to enter it when I went down there."

Born in Melbourne, Miss Harvey-Brewster was raised in Christchurch and moved to the Bay in 2012.

The first-time model said she was a bucket of nerves on stage.

"I didn't do any preparation at all, it was very out of my comfort zone but it was really fun."

The St Joseph's Maori Girls College student said that when asked what they liked to do in their spare time, all the other competitors said they liked to model.

"I don't like modelling, so I told the truth and said I like to eat," she said.

Miss Harvey-Brewster aspires to move overseas and teach English in Europe or Asia.

Devan Flanders, aka Mr Waimarama 2016, said he entered as a joke after his parents paid him to do so.

The 16-year-old Hastings Boys' High School student thought the other competitors were "so muscly" he didn't stand a chance.

"I just rocked up, took my top off and thought nothing of it."

He received a boisterous response from the crowd after telling the MC that in his spare time he liked books.

"It was a bit of a joke," he said.

Both winners credited their families' crowd presence for their respective crowns.

The annual beach day is a major fundraiser for the Waimarama Surf Lifesaving Club.