Let me begin by welcoming all of our guests; the reigning Miss South Pacific, Merewalesi Nailatikau, officials, contestants, chaperones, foreign media, and other supporters from the South Pacific Region. Furthermore, we are honoured to welcome the Chairman of the Miss South Pacific Pageant Committee, the Honourable Misa Telefoni, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa.
The Papua New Guinea organising committee’s journey to hosting the pageant began in November 2009, when we won the bid to host this event. Last year in Fiji, our wildest dreams came true, when PNGs capacity to host an event of this scale was recognised by the Miss South Pacific Pageant (MSPP) committee. MSPP 2010 is the culmination of many months of tireless effort from the committee, sponsors, our patron, The Honourable Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital District, communities of the nation’s capital, and the various Pacific Islands communities of PNG. Together, we have walked the road to hosting this international event.
The Miss South Pacific Pageant was mooted by the government of Western Samoa as a regional event that would recognise and promote the attributes, intelligence, talents, culture and tradition of young Pacific Island women. Miss American Samoa, Juliet Spencer was the first MSPP queen crowned in 1987, when the inaugural event was held in Samoa. The Miss South Pacific Pageant is an event that uniquely promotes the South Pacific and its holiday destinations.
Papua New Guinea is not just a glossed over holiday destination. We are an anomaly in the Pacific Islands region. With rouged mountains, over 800 languages, and distinct cultural groups, our uniqueness rests in the diversity of this land and its people. One week is certainly not long enough to experience all this land has to offer, however, one week is all contestants get, to experience the PNG brand. We hope that the experiences the Pageant offers enrich not only the lives of our guests, but also the lives of our people. This is a cross cultural event that brings together the people of the South Pacific, and shows that as nations we may be different, but as people, we are united in a common understanding of the Pacific Island way.
We are from one ocean, or as we say here in PNG, one sol wara.
We face the same challenges as developing nations. For younger generations especially, it has become harder to find the right balance between culture and progress. This Pageant is about empowering young women in the South Pacific Region, and keeping our culture and traditions alive for the generations to come. As the Pageant gets underway, audiences will come to know, that cultural knowledge is valued as much as formal education in contestants.
This is the message that we hope to take to young women in the South Pacific Region.
Winners of the Miss South Pacific Pageant go on to become Ambassadors of the South Pacific in the international arena, promoting the essence of Pacific people and their culture.
The organizing committee has endeavoured to host an event that displays Papua New Guineas unique brand of Pacific Island hospitality to all of our guests. We invite you into our country, our villages, and our communities to share life as we experience it.
Welcome to the land of the unexpected.
Dadi Toka Junior
Miss South Pacific Pageant PNG Organising Committee