The Miss Universe New Zealand crown now officially belongs to Talia Bennett, after originally crowned beauty queen, South African-born Avianca Bohm, failed to acquire citizenship before the set deadline.
Representing Howick, Ms Bohm won her crown on June 2 in Wellington. The first runner-up, Ms Bennett, represented North Harbour.
Miss Universe NZ has been caught in criticisms from those who have said the judges picked a South African national instead of a New Zealander.
Pageant director Val Lott last month blamed the judges over the controversy. She said there was an understanding that Ms Bohm could not win.
"Embarrassing" turn of events
"It's not embarrassing for the competition. It's embarrassing for the [chief] judge, who should have taken on board what I said to him... It says that in their entry form. [Ms Bohm] and I both had a clear understanding that she couldn't win... I said, you can enter it because it will still be a lot of confidence-boosting and great for your area to represent Howick," said Ms Lott.
What happened? He said, she said [Versions]
Speaking to New Zealand Herald, Jack Yan, publisher of fashion magazine Lucire, said Ms Lott's version of events was quite different from what happened.
Mr Yan said he did not want the "he said, she said" issue to drag on, adding, "it's going to drag on with no end. I think we need to look to the future and see what the next right step is."
Controversies rose when Ms Bohm was quoted in a South African newspaper saying Miss Universe New Zealand organiser Val Lott distorted facts to "save her own ass."
Crown stripped from pageant winner
Miss Universe NZ spokeswoman Zeisha Fremaux told APNZ Tuesday Ms Bohm had sent an email to inform the organisation that her bid for Kiwi citizenship was denied.
Ms Fremaux said Ms Bohm was given an August 1 deadline to complete the procedures for her citizenship in order for her to keep the crown. Ms Bohm sent the mail a day before the deadline.
The change in the rightful beauty title holder was announced Tuesday morning by Miss Universe organizers in New Zealand.
Humbled new queen
Ms Bennett told APNZ it is "sad and unfortunate" that South African-born Ms Bohm had lost her crown.
"It has been sad and unfortunate how events have unfolded and I am truly humbled in accepting my selection," she said, adding she was accepting "the challenge and responsibility ... to justify this significant honour."
Miss Universe 2012 will be held in December, during which Angola's Leila Lopes will turn over the crown. Business tycoon and pageant owner Donald Trump has yet to make a final decision on the venue.
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