Eva Wilson, of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu, is the new Miss Earth New Zealand 2021 and was announced as the winner virtually over the weekend.
Despite the pageant being held half online and half in person due to the lockdown, she’s proud to have gone as far as winning.
“It proves to myself that the work that I have been putting in has been seen, which I know is always really appreciated. But also bigger than that, I find it really nice to know that I can now put Māori culture on an international stage," Wilson says.
Passion for health, environment
Miss Earth is an environmentally themed beauty page promoting environmental awareness, conservation and social responsibility.
“I believe our environment is so interlinked to everything else to do with health," she says.
Wilson is from Tauranga but lives in Auckland. She works for Hapai Te Hauora, a Māori public health agency in West Auckland.
“What drew me towards Miss Earth was itsconcern for the environment and the advocacy. So that was something that I felt that I had. I thought that I could contribute something towards their advocacy in my time. I believe the judges did see my passion for health and the inequities that come with climate change going forward.”
During the lockdown, Wilson has been busy working as an essential worker at the Trust Stadium vaccine station in West Auckland.
“That means for us that there is a lot of long days and full head-to-toe PPE, early starts, sometimes late finishes but it's a really rewarding job and it is quite nice to get out of the house during the lockdown," she says.
“It's nice to know that I can contribute something back to our community, especially during a lockdown at a hard time for a lot of our people.”
Wilson has already competed in the national pageant Miss Five Crowns New Zealand 2018. She then represented Aotearoa internationally at competitions including World Miss Tourism Ambassador in the Philippines and Miss Supranational 2019 in Poland where she won the Miss Oceania title and placed first in interview.
Miss Earth is usually held in the Philippines but will be held virtually this year due to Covid-19.
“For an online pageant, there is a mixture of prerecorded and live recorded aspects that we need to submit to them.”
Since Miss Earth is a Filipino-based pageant she will need to be awake during the early hours of the morning between 2 to 4am to be on their prime time television.
“So I think the first thing for me will be learning to how to sleep like a shift worker. Another challenge would possibly be that we may still be lock down when the competition starts. So that will mean I will be having to edit a lot of the content myself," she says.
“But I'm honestly just very grateful that we're still able to help hold pageants in any sort of context during Covid-19.”