Kate Bal­four takes fi­nal bow

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Af­ter the win­ner has been crowned and the sash pre­sented on Sat­ur­day night, the cur­tain will fall one last time for ‘‘Mrs’’ Miss Manawatu.

For the last nine Miss Manawatu pageants, or­gan­iser Kate Bal­four has been at the helm of a com­pe­ti­tion many have said is past its use-by, but yet the glam event still at­tracts com­peti­tors, spon­sors and au­di­ences.

Some 500 peo­ple turned up to last Fri­day’s Miss Manawatu cock­tail party in the Silks Lounge.

‘‘It’s been nine years, and it’s run its race for me. I’ve loved it, I’ve been pas­sion­ate about it, but I need to move on and do other things,’’ Bal­four said.

The or­gan­i­sa­tional lo­gis­tics re­quired to mount the large scale pageant, which in­cor­po­rated Miss Teen Manawatu and the Manawatu Model of the Year, were huge.

Part of its on­go­ing ap­peal had been the way Bal­four rein­vented the tra­di­tional beauty pageant, in­clud­ing let­ting mar­ried women and moth­ers en­ter.

‘‘It’s not about look­ing for per­fec­tion... It’s about find­ing an am­bas­sador, and about what each in­di­vid­ual en­trant gets out of it. And they keep telling me the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in Miss Manawatu ex­ceeds their per­sonal ex­pec­ta­tions.’’

Ba­si­cally she said it was a per- sonal de­vel­op­ment course lead­ing to in­creased self-con­fi­dence and self-be­lief, as well as en­dur­ing friend­ships among the con­tes­tants.

‘‘I’ve asked if I of­fered the same sort of pro­gramme with­out the shows, the ti­tle and the crown would they still want to do it, and they say ‘no!’. They want the crown.’’

Last year, Bal­four took a year off to have a child, and that gave Miss Manawatu 2014 Le­vana Tufuga a two-year reign.

‘‘Once I was back into it, I de­cided it was time to move on,’’ Bal­four said.

Re­cent Miss Manawa­tus Hay­ley Robin­son and Louise Nel­son went on to suc­cess in na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. Bal­four hoped some­one else would pick up the op­por­tu­nity, add new ideas and take the pageant to other places, but hasn’t ruled out be­ing avail­able to men­tor a suc­ces­sor through the process.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Kate Bal­four, who has given the Miss Manawatu pageant nine lives, is ready to pass on the beauty show ba­ton to some­one with new ideas, vi­sion and en­ergy.

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