Torika Steps Down — and Up, in My Esteem

From Mai Life Face Book.  My only comment is 'How sad! Torika seems to be an exceptionally talented, wise and mature young woman who, I'm sure, will go places far higher that a Miss World competiton.' Loloma yani, Torika.  Croz

STATEMENT 12th May 2012, 2pm

Re: Miss World Fiji 2012 Pageant

I would like to state that I have had no involvement in any of this underhand process and that I have been blind to this entire drama going on behind the scenes. I had no knowledge of any pre-selection or pre-judging. I had no intentions of doing anything sneaky or wrong and like the other contestants entered the competition for what I believed to be the right reasons - to be an Ambassador for Fiji and raise money for charitable causes.
Andhy Blake first contacted me on FB on the 7th of March to invite me to be a part of the Miss World Fiji Pageant. He said he would reserve a place for me among the semi finalists because I was in Sydney at the time. I told him that I would not be turning 17 until next year 2013, and asked if that mattered he said it was fine as he had sought prior approval from the CEO of Miss World Julia Morley. I arrived into Fiji on the 8th of April and came to Suva to join the other contestants on the 11th of April.

On the night of the finals, I was delighted and surprised to be chosen as Miss World Fiji and was proud to be given the opportunity to represent my Fijian heritage on the World stage. I am proud of my identity as a Fijian and have never considered my people as racists. The TNVZ interview was something as I was coached to do by the pageant director Andhy Blake and I have at all times up till now been given the words to say in public as part of my training. This is why I have come out today with my own statement.

Last week Friday 4th May, Andhy Blake told me " Sorry, you cannot go to Mongolia. I thought that 16 year olds could enter Miss World but I was wrong they have to be closer to 17, Julia Morley has advised me to send the first runner up this year and says you can go to Bali next year". He opened his laptop and paraphrased an email from the Miss World HQ in which they had stated I was ineligible to compete on the grounds of my age. We then held a meeting in Bau apartments the next day at which he TOLD me to officially inform the other girls that I would not be going.

I am now back in Nadi with my mum and just want to get on with my life. I left Suva and the entire pageant fiasco on Monday 7th May because I was becoming very uncomfortable with the situation. I was worried about the lies, the deception, the lack of transparency and the lack of professionalism. I knew there were issues with money, some of the girls had not received the promised prize money and were unhappy. I am sad it has come to this and wanted the public to hear directly from me without any outside interference.


Torika Watters, Miss World Fiji 2012

Here is a link to a Wansolwara story written by USP student journaliss and published in NZ's Pacific Scoop


Allen said…
Pageant questions

Fiji is just not ready for the Miss World Fiji contest. So much publicity and Rachel Hunter should have known better. Poor Torika Watters.

What were the organisers thinking? Anyway, what is the Miss World pageant in Fiji, shouldn't it have more people on the committee, or is it a private organisation?

From the start I questioned the pageant, what criteria/ability do the girls have to possess to enter the pageant? Who funded it? Why wasn't it a nation wide affair?

So many questions, but I know someone will have to answer to the people of Fiji and to Torika's family.

What a shamble.

Great and Glorious Things without Miss World! said…
It seems very likely that an element of malfeasance is afoot in the Miss World debacle in Fiji? Rather reminiscent of Timoci Lolohea early on in his recruiting which wound down into alleged human trafficking into Iraq's Green Zone in lieu of the expected manicured lawns and Spas of Dubai? Someone has been out to benefit and not been too worried about cutting corners: yet again?

Ms Rachel Hunter has been used or more politely "taken advantage of" and so have not only Torika but all the other young girls as well.

The Morleys have been associated for years with Miss World. So was the husband of a friend of ours, Barbara Currie in the late 1960s. Miss Reita Faria won the Miss World Contest in 1965: she was a second or third year medical student in India at the time and did eventually graduate. Her sister, Philomena Faria, studied for several months at Heathrow Airport with Barbara Currie and friends. We all got to know about the antics associated with Miss World. A Big Deal at the time.

So, Torika should not be unduly upset. She has done the right thing to put the record straight as far as she is concerned. But those who may have bent the rules and regulations which append to Miss World and who have been previous in bringing such a Hulabaloo into Fiji are undoubtedly in error.

Allen has read it right. We should not even contemplate being a part of Miss World at this time. The time in Fiji "is out of joint" - we have more serious things to attend to. Torika will no doubt be finding more serious things to attend to now. She has prematurely been exposed to the nasty world of global politics. This has impinged upon local politics: a dangerous and damaging sparring ground.

Let us hope she will emerge unscathed and go on to great and glorious things: just as Miss World 1965 Dr Reita Faria did!
Formula One and More... said…
Further to Great & Glorious things without Miss WOrld....

It is a franchise: a very lucrative one make no mistake about that. So the integrity and the calibre of the people directly involved is most important. They are the ones who have the most to gain. And the most to lose if all goes awry. But the participants are the "meat in the sandwich". If not very careful, they will simply be gobbled down.

The Fiji Committee must be smart and up-to-par with such events and the role that the Media and global money and influence bring. Not unlike Formula One today? And there is another thing: the Morleys and the Curries lived right next door to.....Jackie Stewart: a Formula One Ace Driver! Forty years ago or more!!
Mothers: Lock Up your daughters! said…
"Who is this Blake"? asks 'Well Well' in another place.

Well, he/she might do so? Because it is now evident (sic)from the reporting of Matilda Simmons and Tevita Vuibau that this is the question that MUST be asked.

In today's Sunday Times article Mr Andhy Blake strips off and reveals all.

"Mr Blake said he knew Ms Watters' age and the age requirements of the pageant but had been told later by pageant organisers that 16-year-old contestants had to be at least one month away from turning 17 at the time of the pageant.

He said it was normal procedure for places to be reserved for contestants, adding that he had personally approached and reserved places for at least four other contestants.

Normally it is up to the discretion of the national director of the pageant to choose contestants who will have their places reserved", he said.

He then goes on to say that he is unworried about criticism. Based on this reporting, he ought to be.

For surely it might have occurred to Andhy Blake that inherent in just this disclosure might be his downfall? Conflicts of interest arise in places of:

sole decision-making
failure through a lack of accountability
A sense of being GOD

The entire Miss World Pageant credibility relies upon the integrity and the personal credibility of those who run the show: up front and behind the scenes.

Mr Andhy Blake appears to need a good immersion in the rules and principles of good corporate governance. They do apply to him and to 'Miss World Pageant' no less than anywhere else. The fact that he has left himself open to questions of impropriety is yet another factor here: an ethical one.

Leaving Miss Watters and other contestants under the misapprehension that he had the sole right to waive the rules 'for four', is also another factor.

Dear, dear! Not just a fiasco, more a debacle? And fully representational of our Fiji Failure to come to terms with governance principles and procedures. Forgetting: "When in doubt - ask".

Keep up the investigative reporting on this one. It is likely to 'run and run'. And mothers on Mothers Day 2012: Lock Up your daughters! Until this is sorted out.
Anonymous said…
Lets get the Police and FICAC onto this shady guy Andhy Blake ASAP!

Where is the promised funds to St Giles Hospital and to the promotion of mental health in general? They were to be the beneficiaries of this gig.

Its amazing how one guy can single-handedly come in and set up this shamozle...reads like a 1970's narrative of carpetbaggers, conmen and spivs who sail in, make some quick dough, then disappear.

The damage Blake has caused Fiji is enormous and he should be investigated and dealt with if any underhand dealings are discovered.
Anonymous said…
Fiji may not be ready for Miss World pageant but they are trying. They want to be known out there. As for Miss Torika, she has only steppped down because she was told that she could go to China.She didn't care about the rules that clearly stated 17 yrs of age. As long as she was in the lime light. I don't think she should represent Fiji next year, I think they should have a public vote for 2013. Start fresh. Fijian aren't racists they just don't want the world to think that Fijians are light skinned, blonde haired people. Fijians are not ashamed of their colour so why should a Caucasian looking "teenager" represent Fiji?
I support Koini Vakaloloma all the way to Mongolia.
Anonymous said…
@ Fiji may not be ready for Miss World...Anonoymous above

You seem to think that she was after the limelight.....for F...s sake..' she has spoken and intimated that she was used!!!!

Hello...dickhead that you are..young impressionable women of that age have always been exploited by older and dirty old men wanting to advance their intererstes!

So what the hell are you saying she trying to 'get the limelights'?

For Christ sake she is only 16 years old ! And was lured into this position by gruggy men like this low life from Tailevu, Andy Blake!

BTW, I too am a Taukei from Tailevu and never heard of this guy "Blake" from Vunimono.

The only Blakes I hear of from Fiji are from Vanua Balavu and Kadavu!

Unless of happens a lot in Fiji....his father came and "over side" inm Fiji and ended upo with a stray one like Andhy?

Come on Andhy, explain yourself. For those of us from Tailevu, we have never heard of you before! Who are you and what is your linedage to the peopele of Vinimono?

Do you think by the standards you have set with regard to your dealings, and the damage you have caused to young gils like Torika, that you desere respect?

I think you should be thrown in jail as a cold and ruthless exploiter of young women1

I am calling upon all my sisters in Fiji to stand up and condemn such exploiters of women in Fiji, such as Andy Blake!

O koi Tailevu mai vei? Luve ni ......
Anonymous said…
@ Anonymous

How can you support Koini Vakaloloma when she herself does not even chose to wear a 'buiniga' ?
Anonymous said…
Oh please. What does a typical Fijian girl look like any more? In the UK a typical English girl is more likely than not to have Pakistani or Jamaican roots! And who cares? The issue here is far more fundamental. Why is Fiji involved in beauty contests which exploit women and portray them on the basis of their looks and bearing? What does Miss World say to the millions of bright and determined women who are not pretty? If we are serious about equality let the women of Fiji boycott beauty contests and make a statement about it. The women's groups are usually silent about this public form of gender exploitation.
Anonymous said…
perhaps you might get some norwegians to appear as staff in the Air Pacific TV commercials in future, they are such a beautiful, clean, well educated and articulate bunch.
Anonymous said…
@anonymous 2.53
Patronizing, mean and unworthy.
Anonymous said…
Eat your heart out..Miss World Fiji 2013 is being staged again so you wasted all your comments and frustrations hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

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