Venkat Raman –
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata the late Founder-Chairman of Air India used to say that flight attendants (Air Hostesses as they were called then) should not only be beautiful but also be caring, alert, committed, culturally conscious and handle tricky questions and requests.
Those were indeed the qualities that the judges at Miss Indianz 2016 were looking for in 26 contestants who participated in the annual event held at Aotea Square on Saturday, September 17, 2016. More than 500 people were present at the event that has become a cultural extravaganza, attracting a cross-section of communities.
Sunaina Chand, a 23-year-old woman from the picturesque Kashmir in India won the Miss Indianz 2016 title; she was the second flight attendant to be honoured with the title and third Hamiltonian to reach the top since the annual series began in 2002.
Writing to us soon after filing her entry a few months ago, she said that she was always focused on achieving her goals.
“I am an outgoing and motivated woman who thrives to get the most out of life and one of the main goals is being a successful Kiwi Indian woman, who gets to represent our culture to the world. I cannot say that there are certain things I love doing more than others because I believe I like to do a bit of everything; but I can say that I am very passionate about modelling and acting. I believe that being a Kiwi Indian gives me the advantage of living with two amazing cultures,” she had said.
Jasdeep Kaur, who was declared First Runner-Up also believes in getting to her roots, culture and traditions.
Born and raised in New Zealand, she has had the advantage of being ‘twin-cultured’ and long cherished the hope that Miss Indianz would accord her an opportunity to explore new avenues.
Her prayers were answered on September 17, 2016.
Jasdeep teaches the Punjabi dance to children at the Punjabi Virsa Arts and Dance Academy of New Zealand for the past four years.
“I enjoy it as I feel I get to reconnect with my Punjabi roots and love the fact that I have an opportunity to share my knowledge to my students. I was looking forward to Miss Indianz as it provided another platform to experience Indian culture and grow as a person,” she said.
Sharanita Sharma, who was named Second Runner-Up at Miss Indianz 2016 is a student at Marist College, Catholic School for Girls, Mount Albert, Auckland, where she is the reigning Athletics Champion for 2016.
She has won several prizes, trophies, medals and certificates for outstanding performance in Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, Netball, Rowing, Soccer and Swimming
Sharanita is currently training to run a sub 13 second 100 meter run at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics National Competition to be held from December 2 to December 4, 2016.
Prior to her achievement, she had said, “Miss Indianz 2016 will give me a strong platform to become a positive and successful advocate for young women and men who have experienced trauma.”
As the third winner at the event, she would now have ample opportunities to realise her ambitions in life.
Stars of 2016
Dharmesh Parikh, Director, Rhythm House Limited which organises the event said that Miss Indianz 2016 was satisfying and demonstrated the team spirit of participants and others involved.
“Hemant Parikh, Melanie Ramsden and Jacinta Lal were superb in their role as Masters of Ceremonies, while our panel of judges had the unenviable task of choosing the winners in various categories. They have been a major source of strength and encouragement to us,” he said.
Mr Parikh also paid tribute to Sunaina and Raima Roy, Kiranjit Singh, X-Lake and Monisha School of Dance for their performances in the guest performers’ segment.
“We are already gearing up to stage the 15th Annual Miss Indianz on September 16, 2017. Details will be published in Indian Newslink, our website and announced on Radio Tarana. There is substantial evidence of interest already for next year’s event,” he said.
Mr Parikh said that excluding ‘Pageant Factors’ such as fundraising and elimination rounds make Miss Indianz the best show of its type,” he said.
Miss Indianz 2016 At a Glance
Miss Indianz 2016: Sunaina Chand
First Runner-Up: Jasdeep Kaur Basra
Second Runner-Up: Sharanita Sharma
Miss Photogenic: Sunaina Chand (Judged by David Watson)
Miss Public Choice: Jasdeep Basra
Miss Friendship: Lipsa Patel (Voted by Contestants)
Miss Potential Model: Vandhana Vikash
Miss Talent: Kavita Patel and Simran Madan (Judged by Brigitte Knight and Monisha Kumar)
Best Speech Award: Risha Kumar
Pictures by Peter Jennings