Miss Howick Avianca Bohm, a South African-born part-time model, has been named Miss Universe New Zealand 2012.

The 22-year-old was crowned in Wellington last night by her predecessor, Wellingtonian Priyani Puketapu.

Miss North Harbour Talia Bennett was named runner-up and Miss Wellington Lauren Mann was second runner-up.

Check out all the contestants here.


Ms Bohm, who recently graduated with a fashion degree, works as a brand ambassador and part-time model.

She said her interests were fashion design, sports and reading and her ambition was to become qualified as a chartered accountant.

Ms Bohm had to learn English when she arrived in New Zealand, having spoken only Afrikaans in her teens.

She designed many of the dresses she wore in the pageant.

Judging panel chair Jack Yan said the contestants excelled in different areas but Ms Bohm had "that je ne sais quoi".

"It might be described as her natural effortlessness, where nothing seemed to faze her. Avianca is best equipped to handle the international setting of Miss Universe, and that helped put her into the top place," Mr Yan said on his Lucire website.

Also among the top five were Miss Otago Monique Cooley and Miss Auckland Jennifer Lambly.