“Iuwi ang corona Shirley.”
By Sheila Mariano
AUCKLAND – One might think that pageant fever is bubbling in New Zealand, at least within the Asian community. There’s the Maginoo at Binibining Filipino News NZ Cultural Show, Miss Philippines NZ, Miss India NZ, Miss Asia NZ, Miss Universe NZ, Miss Teen NZ and the list goes on.
But there is one pageant that stands out from the rest – the Mrs New Zealand pageant. Some might call it the ‘Mother of all Pageants’, because entry to this event is only open to married women aged between 21-56. The winner of the 2016 contest will go on to represent New Zealand on the international stage at the Mrs Universe pageant.
This year there there is a sole Filipina eyeing the Mrs New Zealand crown – Shirley Maiquez Bath, 37, from Hamilton. Originally from Pangasinan, she’s been living in New Zealand for the past 13 years. She is married with two boys aged 6 and 8.
An administrator with a company in Hamilton, Shirley is actively involved in volunteering. She is an executive committee member of the Waikato Filipino Association (WFA) and also teaches English to refugees once a week.
“In 2014 I was the first runner up in the Ginang Kalayaan contest in Auckland,” said Shirley. “Soon after, someone messaged me to join the Mrs New Zealand contest. But the contest did not take place that year. It is finally happening on 19 November this year at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.”
“What made you join this pageant,” we asked? “I started joining pageants at the age of 14 in the Philippines. There have been about 20 pageants so far; I only lost on four occasions.”
FMN: “Do you still get butterflies when you hit the catwalk?”
SHIRLEY: “The pageants I joined before were regional events and the girls already knew each other when they went to compete in different cities. To be honest, every time I join a pageant my mindset is that it is the first time. Sometimes I might feel shy about going on, but once I’m on stage I become an extrovert.”
FMN: “Is your family supportive of your passion for pageants?”
SHIRLEY: “Back home in the Philippines my sashes and my trophies are displayed prominently in a room. Over here my husband Gordon is really supportive and proud of me. He drives me to Auckland every week for rehearsals.”
Shirley is the only Filipina in this talent quest featuring 14 participants of different nationalities. She has requested that Pinoys vote for her in the Mrs New Zealand People’s Choice Awards. At the moment she is in the lead.
Editor – To vote visit the Mrs New Zealand Facebook page and click ‘like’ on all three photos of Shirley.