Kariha and the other five contestants of the 2018 Miss Pacific Islands Pageant, accompanied by the current Miss Pacific Islands, paid a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister of Tonga, Akilisi Pōhiva, on Tuesday.
“I was especially honoured to meet the Prime Minister of our host country,” she said. "This has been a busy but an amazing journey for me so far!
“Judging begins today with the research topic presentation. I will be talking on empowerment of women. This is such an important topic not just for my country but on a broader scale for the Pacific region.
“I am indebted to a wonderful team behind me, including my mum, who are assisting me every step of the way.
“I truly believe this Pageant is a perfect platform for women empowerment and personal growth.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone back home and around the region who are supporting me. Thank you so much.”
The first judging category of topic presentation will be this morning (Nov 29) followed by the categories of sarong-wear and talent presentation, which will be in the evening.
On Friday (Nov 30) will be the Traditionally Inspired Dress and Stage Interview followed by the crowning of Miss Pacific Islands.
Online voting for Miss Internet is still open till Friday morning.
(From left to right: Miss American Samoa, Magalita Philomena Johnson; Miss Tuvalu, Emelipelesa Panapa; Miss Pacific Islands - Matauaina Toomalatai from America Samoa; Miss Cook Islands - Lydia Simonis; Miss Papua New Guinea - Leoshina Kariha; Miss Samoa - Sonia Piva; and Miss Tonga - Kalo Funganitao with Prime Minister Akilisi Pōhiva)