Miss Rotorua is heating up as 25 women vie for the prestigious crown. But unlike old-fashioned pageants, this competition is different.
At 37, Chinese New Zealander Koji So is one of the oldest contestants this year.
"After three weeks, I learned that everybody has different beauty inside," she said.
The mother of two girls wants to help young women learn where their true beauty lies.
"Some people are still young, they don't have that experience, but I am a little bit more mature than them.
"What I can try to do is help. What I know, I can help because I was a young lady before," she said.
The pageant will feature in a reality series which will air later this year, but for some of the contestants, the reality of being filmed can be daunting.
"Most of us, especially me, are afraid of being judged. I want to be myself and be me. This is the most important thing."
Inspiring immigrant women is also a key motivation for So.
"We are migrant people and I've got lots of friends that have had a really tough time here. Especially for the first couple of years, our language problem, culture difference. There's a different way [we are] treated sometimes."
It's something all of So's friends from Asia have noticed.
"When we talk together we feel sometimes, we feel really a little bit like we're not respected," she said. "So this is the reason that I really want to stand up."
Miss Rotorua is breaking plenty of barriers in the beauty pageant world including some common misconceptions about beauty.
The video journalist of this article and video, Delilah Whaitiri is also a contestant in Miss Rotorua 2021.
Made with funding from