“My name is Fonoifafo Nancy McFarland Seumanu. I am 24 years old, a Public Health Nurse by profession; a dance and music enthusiast; and Miss Samoa 2019.
“I am excited to be part of this year’s Miss Pacific Islands Pageant, representing my homeland. I am eager to meet each one of my Pacific sisters and get to know them.
I hope throughout the pageant week, we will exemplify the beauty of each of our culture and country that make the Pacific Islands vibrant and unique.”
As a Registered Nurse, Seumanu hopes to convey a message to the Pacific people to take seriously the basics about living a healthy lifestyle through regular health checks, basic health education and immunisation.
She said: “I want to connect with my sister contestants and in the Pacific spirit use our roles to make a difference however small to the lives of our Pacific youth. Our every action, opinion or statement matters and can leave a lasting impression on our Pacific people.”
She said the most pressing issue affecting women in the Pacific region was gender equality.
“Women in the Pacific are some of the most vulnerable groups that are impacted by gender inequality. This includes having less access to higher education, health care (primary maternal health care) and less political representation. Cultural norms in the Pacific continue to take its hold in preventing women from progressing in areas of education, employment, health and politics.
“Too often, our cultural perception continues to remain slanted in the notion that the role of a woman is only within the home. On the contrary, Pacific women have so much that they can offer in different sectors of their respective countries.
“As a society, we can build gender equality within our communities by providing our young women with opportunities where they can take leadership roles and participate in decision making processes. We must support them in their efforts and encourage them to speak up and voice their opinions. We need to help our young women recognise the importance of their voice and the impact they can have in bringing about positive changes within our society.
“Greater emphasis needs to be made in the Pacific to build and drive our young women to become leaders of tomorrow. I am a firm believer in the value of education and the impact it has in changing the lives of individuals, families and their communities for the better. To be educated allows people to change the way they think, act and live.
“For developing Pacific countries, education helps reduce poverty, boosts economic growth and increase development in different sectors that build a country.
“To be given of the opportunity to be heard through the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant platform on issues current and affecting our vast region is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“I trust that our host country Papua New Guinea will put together a wonderful pageant for us. I look forward to experiencing the diversity of the PNG culture and learn more about your traditions and customs, as well as those of my Pacific sisters.”
Miss Pacific Islands Pageant was established in 1987 by the Government of Samoa to recognise and promote the attributes, intelligence and talents of Pacific islands women. The pageant recognises Pacific islands women, their contributions to regional affairs and their ability to advance in diverse fields. The contestants are also cultural and tourism ambassadors for their countries. From November 24-30, the pageant will be held in PNG.
In the next few weeks, as we countdown to the Crowning Ball on Saturday November 30, a contestant from each of the participating countries will be featured.