A South Africa-born 22-year-old woman will represent New Zealand at the Miss Universe competition later this year after being crowned in Wellington on Sunday.
Miss Howick, Avianca Bohm, fended off nine other contestants, including last year's runner-up, to win the pageant.
The holder of a fashion diploma, she designed many of the outfits she wore during the week-long event.
"Avianca is best equipped to handle the international setting of Miss Universe, and that helped put her into the top place," lead judge Jack Yan said.Miss North Harbour, Talia Bennett, was runner-up for a second successive year after losing out to Priyani Puketapu in 2011.
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