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1962 Queen Shares Experience

1962 Queen Shares  Experience
Miss Hibiscus 1962 Eta Uluvula at the launch of the Hibiscus festival at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau
June 13
10:00 2016


Eta Uluvula Qereqeretabua remembers vividly 1962. That’s the year she was crowned Miss Hibiscus. She is one of the legends of the festival as it celebrates it’s 60th year.

The 75-year-old soft spoken Mrs Qereqeretabua joined other former Hibiscus queens during the festival launch at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva last Friday.

Her daughter, who is also one of Fiji’s iconic women, Lenora Qereqeretabua, later followed in the footsteps and was crowned Miss Hibiscus in 1988.

“It’s been a part of my life. 54 years ago I became Miss Hibiscus. I didn’t know how to become a Miss Hibiscus,” she said.

“The year I went in which was 54 years ago it was simply a Hibiscus Festival. We didn’t have to raise money.”

Mrs Qereqeretabua also commended the changes to the festival that had evolved  over the years.

“The contestants have become more expressive in what they think and to do the various things they have the skills for,” she said.

Her advice to this year’s contestants and young women out there is ‘to be yourself’.

“When you are in a situation like this, you would tend to act special and put on an act,” she said.

“I remember the advice given to me then. Our tutor told me ‘Eta, don’t try to be someone else, just be yourself’.”

Mrs Qereqeretabua said there was a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“You look around, it is very alarming to see so many obese men and women.

“I think this is something that these girls can create awareness on, how to keep fit and slim,” she said.

History tells us that the festival was rather a small one, which didn’t have much publicity.

Not many people in Suva were aware of it because it  was contained within the Town Hall (Suva Civic Auditorium).

Then it later was held at Albert Park up until last year as the park underwent major developments.

With its fully-active committee and continued partnership from major sponsor Vodafone Fiji Limited, the festival is now dubbed the ‘Mother of all Festivals’ and the ‘Pride of the Capital City.’

The contestants category has also grown with the inclusion of Kings, Teen Queens, Prince and Princess, and Adi Senikau pageant.

The 2016 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival will take place at the Vodafone Arena in Suva from August 12 to 20.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

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