The newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand said it was "sad and unfortunate" how she was awarded the title but is honoured to accept it.
Talia Bennett from Auckland's North Shore was yesterday awarded the title after original winner Avianca Bohm was unable to secure New Zealand citizenship.
South African born Bohm was given awarded the title in June despite not being a New Zealand citizen, and was given until today to gain citizenship.
The 22-year-old had hoped to fast-track the process ahead of the international Miss Universe pageant in December.
"To be asked by the Miss Universe New Zealand organisers to represent New Zealand at Miss Universe 2012 is a wonderful honour," Bennett says on Zeisha PR company's website, which is owned by a competition spokeswoman.
"It has been sad and unfortunate how events have unfolded and I am truly humbled in accepting my selection.
"I am looking forward with excitement to the once in a lifetime opportunity I have been given to represent my country on the world stage. I'm mindful of the very high standards set by past representatives and respectfully accept the challenge and responsibility I now have to my family, friends, supporters and the public to justify this significant honour."
Bennett was the first runner-up in the original pageant. She has a Bachelor of Property and is a qualified commercial property valuer, the website says.
The PR website speaks out in favour of Miss Universe New Zealand organiser Val Lott who claimed to have let Bohm enter the competition, but had told judges she couldn't win.
"It's not embarrassing for the competition," Lott is quoted on the website.
"It's embarrassing for the [head] judge, who should have taken on board what I said to him, It says that in their entry form. [Bohm] and I both had a clear understanding that she couldn't win."
Lott has repeatedly hung up when asked for comment on the controversy.
Head judge Jack Chan has denied that from the outset and said he won't be involved in the pageant again.
SOURCE: Stuff.co.nz, 8/1/2012