Reigning Miss Horowhenua Karlena Cornell has offered to hand in her crown after pictures of her cavorting nude on stage at an R18 Sexpo in Australia were published in a magazine and posted on the internet.

The tearful beauty queen yesterday said she had no idea that what had started out to be a bit of fun would end up splashed all over the internet.

A person who said he or she had seen a clipping from the magazine, which showed Miss Horowhenua nude on stage, sent an email about it to The Chronicle.

Yesterday Miss Cornell and Miss Horowhenua organiser Tracey Jones said they were seeking legal advice about the nude photos and their use in the magazine and on the internet.

Miss Cornell said: "I didn't give it a thought that I was still Miss Horowhenua, I was just having a bit of fun.

"I went to Brisbane on holiday and while I was there, I picked up a job working at a hotel."

At the same time there was an adult lifestyle exhibition, Sexpo, being held.

"The boss of the hotel asked me if I would work on their trade stand during the four days the expo was on, which I did.

"I worked 12-hour shifts and made some casual acquaintances with the people working at stalls around ours. Everyone was having fun.

"I think it was on the Saturday, they announced that they were having an amateur strip contest for both men and women. The only requirement was that you had never been a professional stripper.

"My boss said I should get up and give it a go as there was a $500 first prize.

"I was hesitant at first, but she kept insisting I should do it."

There were about 20 other girls on stage when the competition started. It ended with Miss Cornell and one other on stage.

Miss Cornell said she saw some people taking photos, but there was not a line of photographers hard up against the stage.

"I didn't think for one minute that someone would take my photo for publishing anywhere. No one asked me if I minded or even asked my name.

"I think under the circumstances I should resign as Miss Horowhenua."

Ms Jones said "I would like to say that I don't condone this type of behaviour.

"But looking at it from Karlena's point of view the contest was 10 months behind her and she was in another country at the time.

"I can understand that being Miss Horowhenua would not have been foremost in her mind at the time.

"It is very sad indeed that this had to be publicised," she said.

Ms Jones has yet to decide if she will accept Miss Cornell's resignation.