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Miss New Zealand 'bullied' to give up crown

Published: 5:50AM Friday June 15, 2012 Source: ONE News

The newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand says she has been told to give up her crown by organisers.

South Africa born Avianca Bohm was less than 36 hours into her reign when she was told she could be stripped of her tiara over questions about her nationality.

Bohm told TV ONE's Breakfast today that she has received a letter from organisers saying that she is ineligible to represent New Zealand.

Bohm was given the title at a ceremony in Wellington on June 4, but was told she will not be able to attend the Miss Universe pageant in December unless she gains New Zealand citizenship.

The 22-year-old said she has sought legal advice in an attempt to continue her reign, claiming that organiser Val Lott does not have the authority to take the tiara away from her.

Miss Universe New Zealand said she feels like she has been "bullied" by organisers and has not been given enough time to gain her New Zealand citizenship.

Lott told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning that Bohm is "skating on thin ice". However, she would not confirm or deny that she had sent Bohm the letter.

Lott said that it is unfair for everyone to have to wait for Bohm to go through the process of getting her citizenship approved, as there are certain obligations for a Miss Universe crown-holder, including appearing at key events.

The organiser said she is expecting to hear back from Miss Universe pageant organisers in the US and then a final decision will be made on whether Bohm will remain Miss Universe New Zealand.

Bohm told TV ONE's Breakfast earlier this month that she was confident her application for citizenship will be fast-tracked so she can represent New Zealand in the Miss Universe pageant.

Competition organisers have admitted the 22-year-old should never have won because she is not a citizen, and they have blamed the judges for the controversial decision after they were told Bohm was not eligible to take the title.

The judging panel included Wellingtonians Lucire publisher Jack Yan (chairman), stylist and fashion editor Samantha Hannah, Salute Hair & Day Spa director Carl Manderson and Aucklanders May Davis and Danijela Unkovich.