A former Miss New Zealand is leading the criticism against New Zealand's Next Top Model judges over the lack of Maori and Pacific Island models picked for the show.

Just two of the 13 girls chosen for the final round of the TV3 programme identify themselves as Maori. One of the models is from Sudan and the rest are European.

Miss New Zealand 1962, Rotorua District councillor Maureen Waaka, who is of Te Arawa and Tuwharetoa descent, said the show did not represent New Zealand's diverse culture.

"You get a different look coming from Maori or Pacific Islanders, that mix of cultural background coming through on to the catwalks of the world and it's that difference in look that I think the rest of the world would be interested in.

"I'm disappointed we don't have that. I'm not detracting in any way from those who have won it on their own capabilities.

"I would love to see contests that encourage young woman and in particular the cultural content ... Maori and Pacific Islanders and all the other mixes of our country that are now residents in New Zealand."

Ms Waaka, who helped run the Miss Aotearoa pageant after retiring from modelling, is considered by some to have changed the perception of beauty in the modelling industry, with past winners usually Pakeha women.

The only Maori woman in her class of 25 at Auckland's Academy of Elegance, Ms Waaka was used as a model by New Zealand tourism department to promote the country.

Bloggers have also vented their frustrations about the lack of different races on the show.

On the Stuff website, Sindy Snowdon comments that none of the models in the competition are of Maori model Grace Hobson's calibre.

"No ethnic diversity ... These girls are pretty, but they all look like Supre [clothing] store girls. I see more stunning girls every morning on my way to work. I guess it should be renamed to 'New Zealand's Next Top Model out of Those Who Applied'."

Evan writes: "They look like clones. Where are all the Maori girls? And yeah Grace Hobson is way prettier than these girls, and probably more successful than the winner will ever be."

Barth writes: "Those selected seem to be variation on the same bland theme. There is a conspicuous absence of variety, and in particular Maori and other ethnicities ..."

Spokesman for the programme Andrew Szusterman defended the judges' choices. "The audition process took in 15 centres around New Zealand. Proportionally the turnout was European with relatively few Maori, Pacific Island or Asian girls turning up."

Marama Nicholas, agency manager of modelling agency, Clyne, said the judges worked with what they had.

"With any modelling competition you are restricted by who applies as opposed to a modelling agency or scouts going out and targeting people specifically who are suited to the industry."