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Natasha Unkovich, centre, of Howick, has been crowned Miss Auckland 2017.
Natasha Unkovich, a charity-minded teacher in East Auckland, is this year's Miss Auckland.
The 23-year-old Howick resident claimed the prestigious beauty pageant title at Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, on July 8.
She was judged winner ahead of 18 other contestants to represent the region in the Miss World New Zealand 2018 competition.
"I'm really excited about being an ambassador for Auckland and feel extremely honoured to be able to represent the city that I've grown up in and the place that has provided me endless opportunities," Unkovich says.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to put Auckland in a positive light, and to being involved with charity work throughout the duration of my role and onwards."
Unkovich also took out the People's Choice prize, Best in Interview, and Top Model award.
Like last year's Miss Auckland, Michelle Isemonger, Unkovich is a graduate of Howick College.
On continuing her pageant life, she says she'd like to carry on inspiring and supporting young people to be kind and respectful individuals who are confident in who they are and to follow their dreams.
"My Miss Auckland journey has been a very positive experience. A highlight was getting involved with charity through the Ronald McDonald House, through fundraising and raising awareness of their wonderful work.
"Miss Auckland has also allowed me to grow as an individual and push myself out of my comfort zone.
"It's a supportive environment that encourages confidence, authenticity and collaboration of communities," says the Bucklands Beach Intermediate School teacher.
Through the efforts of beauty contestants, including fundraising and charity work, the Miss Auckland 2017 event has been able to hand over a donation collection of $23,691 to Ronald McDonald House.
Unkovich's Beauty with a Purpose charity contribution was $3400, generated by many fundraising initiatives at her school including a bake sale and food for the disco.
Miss Auckland judge Simone Anderson, of Simone's Journey to Health, says Unkovich was the clear winner for a number of reasons.
"Firstly was how she held herself, always with such poise and grace. She spoke so eloquently and with such intelligence.
"She went above and beyond in regards to her Beauty with a Purpose. She truly immersed herself in her community and 100 per cent embodied Miss Auckland, using her platform for good."
Former Miss NZ Tourism International in 2015, Ceri McVinnie, says "Natasha was the full package".
"Obviously, she's gorgeous, but she's also intelligent, well spoken and really involved in her local community.
"Natasha really impressed us during the interview section and with her fundraising efforts. Then she blew us away on stage for the final night.
"Her poise and elegance just really set her apart," McVinnie says.
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