From gumboots and horses to stilettos, catwalks and the Miss Tourism World Crown


Petria Haigh. Photo: Supplied
Petria Haigh. Photo: Supplied
North Canterbury horse endurance racer Petria Haigh traded her jodhpurs and riding boots for stilettos and ball gowns as she took to the stage for the Miss Five Crowns NZ beauty pageant - where she won two of the five crowns.

Petria, who is based at Eyrewell, won the Miss Tourism World Crown and was also crowned Regional Winner.

Her Miss Tourism World Crown NZ will allow her to compete at the world finals later this year in Asia.

It was the second time Petria, 23, had entered the competition.

"I entered back in 2019, and having never worn heels before, I struggled with the walks in the various sections."

She didn’t place that year but was surprised when she was later asked to travel to Uganda in 2022 to compete in the Miss Planet International competition.

However, Petria and the other entrants quickly left the country on advice due to serious security concerns.

"I was a little bit hesitant to enter this year, but Pam Cummings, the pageant’s national director, asked me to come, so I started practising walking in heels again."

She says strutting the catwalk in high heels is very different from working with horses in gumboots every day.

"I had to practise for months, suffered sprains and twists before I finally got it down pat in time for the pageant."

Petria entered because the Miss Five Crowns NZ (MFCNZ) is different from the usual beauty pageants.

"It's all about empowering women, encouraging diversity, gaining confidence and making a difference in the world today.

"There are no rules about a contestant's age, whether they are married or not, or if they have had kids.

"There is no body shape shaming, no ethnicity or gender rules, it’s all about empowering women and I loved the experience.”

She says there were none of the preconceptions some people have about pageants, the cattiness or drama.

"The women taking part were all super friendly. No dramas - just a lot of new friends and fun.

"It's all about women learning how to love themselves, and be proud of their bodies as they dress up for their families and friends."

The competition is popular in the North Island, but still relatively unknown down south.

Petria says she had three months of video calls covering rehearsals for the competition show, learning how they wanted contestants to walk and learning the three main dance steps.

Attendance at these rehearsals is counted as part of a contestant's overall score.

"We were marked on that, plus how much charity work we achieved, our social media presence and at the grand final how we answered the judge's questions and presented ourselves."

At the grand final in Auckland, Petria joined the other women and following the dancing sections, she paraded in the fashion, swimwear and evening wear categories.

Photo: Facebook . Petria Haigh / Miss Five Crowns NZ Finalist 2023
Photo: Facebook . Petria Haigh / Miss Five Crowns NZ Finalist 2023
This year contestants sought sponsorship to raise funds for the event's charity – Koru Care.

It is a cause very close to Petria’s heart as coincidently she was aided by Koru Care when she was just six months old and diagnosed with a kidney tumour.

"I lost a kidney and over the years Koro Care has helped us out."

Later she went on a Koro Care make-a-wish trip to the Melbourne Cup.

"I had always wanted to be in a beauty pageant, or to act, so when the opportunity presented itself in 2019 I took it.

"I got to dress up in front of my family, they loved it — well my mum Karyn loved it — while my dad Allan was, I think, a bit shocked to see his little daughter on stage all dressed up. But it was a fun event and I would recommend it to all women to give it a go."