Miss World Oceania arrives home

Miss World New Zealand has returned home after winning the Miss World Oceania title and spending five weeks in China competing against 120 girls from around the world. 

Jess Tyson, of Te Atihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi, also placed in the top 12 overall at Miss World, New Zealand's highest placement since the 90s.

"Coming home with the Miss World Oceania title is so amazing and I feel so lucky and all of the hard work is paid off but most of all I feel proud to be able to represent us. This region of the world we have so much to offer, our culture and our talents and so being that representative is so incredible,” she says.

This year the pageant was judged differently to previous years as the contestants were placed into continental groups and winners were chosen from each continent.

Jess was in the Asia-Oceania continent which was the most competitive, she says.

"Out of the top 30, 11 were from my continent so I knew I was up against the hardest batch of girls and to be recognised in that batch was the best feeling."

One of Jess' proudest moments was performing her cultural dance routine at the final show.

But there was another moment in particular that stood out for her when she was awarded second place for the Beauty with a Purpose project section.

For her project, Jess started her own charity this year called Brave, sharing her story about being a survivor of sexual abuse and helping young people affected by sexual violence.

“I wasn't sure how the judges were going to take it so I wasn't expecting too much but when it was recognised for a placing, I felt so proud,” she says.

Next year Jess will travel to several countries to take part in humanitarian work as part of the Miss World Beauty with a Purpose tour alongside Miss World and the other continental winners.

She will also develop her charity by presenting it to more schools in Aotearoa and speaking to young people overseas throughout the tour.

But for now, there's only one thing on her mind.

"Definitely going to eat a lot. The diet will probably start after Christmas because I just need to, you know, have some time to enjoy the kai, it's very important and I miss it.”