Kate Balfour takes final bow
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.
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.