Even before Miss Samoa Moemoana Safa’ato’a Schwenke’s name was announced, people at home already knew she had won it. Why wouldn’t she? She was mesmerising from the start and after her talent, there were no questions about who should be the queen of the Pacific.

And in winning the Miss Pacific title, she has repeated what her mother MaryJane Mckibbin-Schwenke did, 27 years ago in 1997. She too was Miss Samoa and later crowned Miss South Pacific.

It was a historic and proud moment not only for the Schwenke family but for the whole of Samoa. A moment of deja vu for MaryJane.

The victory stands out as the first instance in the pageant’s history where both a mother and her daughter have claimed the prestigious regional title.

The 23-year-old, from the villages of Auala, Asau, Matavai-Safune, Taufusi, Vaimea, and Matautu-Lefaga, expressed that clinching the title in the regional pageant has been a lifelong aspiration since her childhood.

She immediately credited God for her journey and for guiding her and her pageant sisters throughout the week-long pageantry in Nauru.

The newly crowned Miss Pacific Islands described the week-long pageant experience as truly memorable.

She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share this special time with the other remarkable contestants from various Pacific islands.

She extended heartfelt thanks, on behalf of all the contestants, to the individuals working diligently behind the scenes to guarantee the success of the pageant. Addressing her fellow pageant participants, Moemoana praised their courage and bravery in representing their respective nations on the regional stage.

Furthermore, she commended their intelligence, beauty, talents and passion in carrying their nations on their shoulders.

She said she understands that there was a lot of pressure and still is a lot of resting on their shoulders, as ambassadors of their island countries.

Moemoana then acknowledged her team, her country and especially her parents.

She fought to hold back tears as she paid tribute to the hard work, sacrifice and dedication, support and love that carried her to where she is right now.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl. So it is an honour to be standing here today as the Miss Pacific Islands and I hope to make you proud.”

Moemoana was crowned Miss Samoa 2023-2024 in September last year.

She was born in Samoa and was raised in New Zealand and Australia where she and her family now live.

Moemoana also clinched awards for Best Traditionally Inspired Wear, the Digicel Choice Award for Miss Popularity, Best Talent, and Best Interview, underscoring her diverse talents and charm that captivated the judges and audience alike.

She wowed the audience with her captivating talent and it was the first time ever the regional pageant had fire dancing during the talent category.

Moemoana stepped further back into the legend of Samoa’s warrior deity, Nafanua as an inspiration for her talent.

“From the shores of Samoa, submerging into the sacred waters of Savai’i to emerging onto the stage at Miss Pacific Islands embodying the spirit of Nafanua,” Moemoana said.

“The journey thus far has been one of considerable growth spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

“For my talent, we stepped further back into the legend of Samoa’s warrior deity Nafanua. Nafanua in the spirit world, pulotu. I imagined her movements before the war to free her people from injustice, depicting her training and preparing.

“My talent represents that going into battle requires strategy, foresight and vision. And this is my message to the Pacific Islands, in our quest to safeguard our cultures, traditions and environments.

‘In this great future you can’t forget your past’. Samoa I will take you with me everywhere I go,” she said.