In our last issue, we pictured Aroha Manawatu on the night she won the ‘Miss Canterbury’ title. Since then she has come second in the ‘Miss New Zealand’ contest after touring the country with the other provincial winners for nearly two months.
Although the ‘Miss Canterbury’ show was the first beauty or personality parade Aroha had taken part in, she had been
keenly interested in modelling, and after three years at the Marjorie Baird School of Deportment, graduated with the Diploma of Deportment and Modelling.
Christchurch audiences have had the chance to meet Aroha at store fashion parades and public appearances. During the Christchurch Pan Pacific Arts Festival she appeared at a local store for a two-week Festival of Fashion. These and all the other engagements associated with being ‘Miss Canterbury’ have given her plenty to do.
At the ‘Miss Canterbury’ contest, held in the Winter Garden on 13 February, the judges found it so difficult to decide on the winner that they took 20 minutes to reach a decision. Aroha's win was popular with the audience.
During the contest, each girl made three platform appearances, in day, swim and evening wear. Aroha wore white on each occasion. First, she wore a tunic suit of her own design, then a lacy swimsuit, and for the final appearance she wore a white crepe evening gown, highlighted with a choker of jet beads.
As the provincial winner, Aroha received a considerable variety of prizes, including a fashionable wardrobe of street, evening and sportswear, corsetry, lingerie, jewellery, cosmetics and hair styling.
The night of the judging Aroha was nervous. In fact she felt nervous about it for a few days before the show. Since then she has attended a public speaking course and this has helped her confidence considerably.
Aroha was educated at Papanui High School, and until she won the ‘Miss Canterbury’ contest, was employed as a typist-clerk in a city office. She has resigned from the job, because she found that as ‘Miss Canterbury’, there were modelling and personal appearances which could not be handled in her spare time.
As a member of the Arohanui Teen Club in Papanui, she is keen to learn Maori culture. She was club secretary for three years. The club activities include action songs, poi dancing, wire work, flax weaving and other Maori art. Her Maori costume was made by her grandmother.
Aside from modelling which is now her main interest, Aroha enjoys sewing
A few months ago, Aroha had planned to visit Australia to try her luck there as a model. Now that the ‘Miss New Zealand’ contest is over, she may still decide on an across-the-Tasman quest in search of modelling contracts.
William A. Gamble