Beauty, talent, personality and a smart answer about dealing with Covid-19 misinformation have seen Sydney Batters from Kaeo crowned Miss New Zealand 2020.
The 19-year-old won the competition following 10 months of rehearsals, personal development workshops and pageantry training leading up to the final announcement on October 11.
Her new title means she will head to Tokyo next year to compete at the Miss International competition, with the event date yet to be confirmed.
Batters said her win "still hasn't kicked in yet, but it's very exciting", and she now wants to inspire others.
"Coming from a small town, being a role model is my biggest goal.
"I hope people can see, just because you come from a rural area, doesn't mean you can't do great things.
"I want to show that with hard work you can achieve anything."
Batters, of Ngāpuhi descent, has lived in Kaeo all her life and attended Taipa Area School, where she was the 2019 Dux.
She moved to Auckland this year to pursue nursing studies at Auckland University of Technology.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Miss New Zealand coronation was postponed from June to October.
Prejudging took place on October 3, where contestants were scored on a variety of walks including national costume, evening gown, cocktail and bikini. They were also interviewed by the judges and were asked to showcase other talents like music and dance.
Then, on October 11, before the crowning ceremony which was attended by family members of contestants in Auckland, a final question was asked of each contestant which determined the winner, Batters said.
"We were asked if we were in charge of leading a community of people how would we minimise the effects of Covid-19?
"There were five different perspectives, and I answered from a social perspective.
"I said I would create a communications team which would act as a conduit for scientific information about the pandemic and filter out fake news online so people wouldn't read into the wrong things and get the wrong idea."
As well as her crown, Batters won two medals: best in evening gown and best in beach beauty.
Batters entered her first beauty pageant, Miss Far North, in 2017, where she placed second overall and won the people's choice award.
She initially got involved in beauty pageants through her mum.
"I didn't want to do it at first, but Mum thought I'd do really well and would go quite far.
"I'm happy I've done it. It's opened up a lot for me and will take me to places like Japan, which is exciting.
"Hopefully, if I do well in Japan, I'll move on to bigger pageants as well."
Batters said she enjoys meeting new people, making friends with the contestants, and being open to new opportunities.
Her mum, nan and partner, who attended the crowning ceremony, have been so supportive, she said.
"They were all crying and really proud.
"My mum was livestreaming through Facebook during the night, so all my family and friends were watching in the Far North, and they were all so excited for me."
The first Miss New Zealand contest was held in Auckland in 1926 and was only open to single women, with the winner chosen by public vote.
It became an annual event in the 1960s, and was a high-profile competition.
Beauty contests declined in popularity from the late 1980s, and were no longer televised, but there was a resurgence in the 2000s where competitions for married women, girls, teenagers and men, both gay and straight, emerged.