Eighteen-year-old Cody Yerkovich, of Kaitaia, had planned to  start a business management degree. But that's  on hold while she becomes the first Northlander to represent the country in the Miss World beauty pageant.
She  has been crowned Miss New Zealand and is bound for the international event  in November.
The 1.82-metre-tall  student of Maori and Croatian descent beat 15 other finalists at Auckland's Sky City Convention Centre.
She was also named the Miss World New Zealand Top Model, People's Choice and Best in Evening Gown.
She told the Advocate she had "not at all" expected to win on Saturday but was delighted to be the first Northlander to wear the crown.
"I'm really happy ... I feel quite privileged to be able to represent Northland and put it on the map."
She completed seventh form at Kaitaia College last year and hopes to start a degree, but before that, an extraordinarily busy year beckons.
Next week she will move to Auckland from Waiharara, 20km north of Kaitaia, and will start learning Maori, Croatian and Spanish - the latter because she will be a guest at the Miss Argentina contest in five weeks.

 She will then fly to the Solomon Islands for charity work and compete in the Model of the World contest in China.
Cody said she had never before been outside New Zealand.
Supporters from Kaitaia filled five tables at Saturday's gala function, rattling the convention centre with a haka that came close to reducing Cody to tears.
Judging panel head and former Miss New Zealand Maureen Waaka told Waatea News she was delighted with Cody's win. Last year she called on beauty contest judges to look beyond "skinny blondes" when choosing contestants to represent Aotearoa on the world stage.
Mrs Waaka said Cody presented herself with the refinement and elegance of Maori women and had "that special M-factor".
Her iwi affiliations include Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri.
Miss World pundit Edwin Toledo was picking Cody as a "done deal" even before judging began.
After watching the dress rehearsal a day earlier, he told the fan site "World of Misses" it would take something extraordinary for her to miss out on the crown.
"She is tall, striking, and she has an aura which I have seen last in Unnur Birna [the Icelandic Miss World 2005]. She will put New Zealand back on the map."
Mr Toledo added that Cody had a "very pleasant personality" and had demonstrated her commitment by commuting six hours every weekend to the Auckland rehearsals.
"She is a perfect 10. She is of Croatian, German and Maori descent - a very interesting mix of genes," he said.
The venue for Miss World 2010 has yet to be finalised, but organisers claim the event's 60th year will be the biggest ever with 120 nations taking part.
Cody said she expected some tough competition.
"I can't hope for too much but I'll try my best for New Zealand, and for Northland."