KRISTAL Pehi wants to help empower women and is raising funds for the Rotorua Community Maori Wardens during the pageant. Photos supplied

A FORMER Opotiki woman says she has entered the Miss Rotorua 2019 contest not because she seeks fame and fortune, but because she wants to do good for the community.

Kristal Pehi hails from Whakatohea and her mother is Donna Lee Tepaea Kelly and her stepfather is Sean Kelly.

Although she left Opotiki for Rotorua at the age of 18, she considers all of Opotiki her family.

Ms Pehi said it was the first time she had entered such a contest and that she was “taking a big leap of faith”.

The contest aimed to raise funds for the community, with each contestant required to raise $1000 for charity.

Her charity is the Rotorua Community Maori Wardens Trust.

Ms Pehi said she had already completed a couple of fundraisers and had another one coming up tomorrow, a mufti day at the intermediate school.

Of the 15 contestants, she is the oldest at 40.

A mum to four daughters and an “angel baby” boy, she is using the contest as a platform to empower women and girls.

“I want my daughters to grow up empowered,” she said.

“I grew up in a home where my mother empowered me.”
With family all over Opotiki and on the Coast, Ms Pehi said her message was “vote right now”.

“Vote for me to win the People’s Choice Crown and title as a way of empowering our wahine and whanau,” she said. “It’s not about me, but what I am representing.”

She plans to visit Opotiki after the contest is finished.

“I haven’t been back to Opotiki for a while, but I’ll be going once this is all over,” she said.

“I will need some revitalisation and recovery.”

Miss Rotorua 2019 will be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre on Saturday, September 21.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz