Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 Scandal: who to blame?

Avianca Böhm was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2012 on June 3, 2012. However, right after being crowned, local newspapers said Avianca Böhm may be stripped of her tittle and the right to represent the country in Miss Universe 2012 Pageant because she is not a New Zealand citizen.

Avianca Böhm was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2012

Avianca Böhm was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2012

Organisers admitted they knew that Avianca Bohm was not eligible from the beginning but they didn’t think she would win the tittle.

Pageant director Val Lott is blaming the judges and said they were told Avianca was not eligible to win. Lott claimed she had told Yan (a judge) that Bohm was not a New Zealand citizen and therefore could not win. “Jack Yan knew but it wasn’t discussed with everybody else so it was probably a genuine oversight because it hasn’t happened before. Everybody must be aware that we’re a multicultural society. Now we have to all be sure that everybody has got New Zealand citizenship.”

However, sponsor and judge Jack Yan revealed Miss Otago Monique Cooley is an Australian citizen and was also ineligible. He did not want a tit-for-tat with pageant organisers but said judges weren’t told of the citizenship issues surrounding Bohm and Cooley, or that competition rules required them to be New Zealand citizens.
“If we had been told that Avianca was not eligible how come we hadn’t been told that the other foreign national was also not eligible?” he said. Moreover, “if you line up 10 people for a 100m sprint you don’t really say to the referees that no matter who comes first, second or third, you’ve got to discount a couple of people.”

According to the Herald, contestants must pay a “sponsorship fee” of $3000. It raised the question whether the organizer admitted contestants who were not eligible just for the money.

What are they going to do with Avianca Böhm?
According to Lott, organizers remained committed to Bohm. They are now scrambling to get citizenship for the 22-year-old to allow her to represent New Zealand at the Miss Universe pageant in December.
She also has contacted the Miss Universe 2012 organizers to ask if the winner can represent the country as a permanent resident.

“I suppose in hindsight we should’ve just reiterated to them on the night… it’s been all a bit of an oversight, a very good learning reminder of dotting Is and crossing Ts.”

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