By RICHARD SHEARS
Torika Watters is of mixed European and Fijian heritage and was selected by supermodel Rachel Hunter and non-Fijian judges as the new Miss Fiji
Fury has erupted in a tiny Pacific nation over the choice of a mixed-blood schoolgirl as the winner of the Miss World Fiji crown - 'because she doesn't look native enough'.
Teenager Torika Watters, who is of mixed European and Fijian heritage, was selected by supermodel Rachel Hunter and non-Fijian judges as the winner of contest and the choice has caused outrage among the nation's dark-skinned population.
Many people have complained that schoolgirl Miss Watters had no right to the crown because she did not even have a 'buiniga' - the local word used to describe the naturally-fuzzy Fijiian hairstyle.
The official Miss World Fiji Facebook page has been filled with hundreds of hate-filled comments and they have all had to be deleted.
People have also targeted Miss Watters' pale skin, saying the crown should have gone to someone who 'looks more like a Fijian'.
Complaints flooded in that schoolgirl Miss Watters had no right to the crown because she did not even have the naturally-fuzzy Fijiian hairstyle
Organisers of Miss World Fiji, held in the capital, Suva, said they had been bombarded with negative comments after 16-year-old Miss Watters won the title, beating full-blooded Fijian contestants.
A spokeswoman for the pageant insisted that the harsh criticism would not affect the decision, which would stand.
'In the past few days there has been nothing but negative criticism and remarks from our own people,' said the spokeswoman.
'Instead of bringing all the wrong attention to our brand and country, why not start supporting our ambassador, building her up and praying that she impacts the world with her story?
Controversial winner: Miss World Fiji 2012 Torika Watters posed for pictures wearing her crown
Organisers of Miss World Fiji, held in the capital, Suva, said they had been bombarded with negative comments about Miss Watters
'Fiji has received enough negative press already - shouldn't this be one for making up for lost ground.'
The 'negative' comment was a reference to political turmoil that had badly hit the tourist industry in recent years.
The spokeswoman added: 'Our forefathers promoted unity and respect and, sadly, in our society today this is not evident among many who call themselves proud Fijians.'
Teenager Miss Watters, centre, won the title, beating a host of full-blooded Fijian contestants
The row has also centred on Miss Watter's age, with Miss Rose Foulger, who runs the Miss World New Zealand pageant claiming the Fijian selection was a breach of the Miss World regulation rules.
But Rachel Hunter, who was the chief judge, hit back, pointing out that she was 16 herself when she became the 'Tip Top' girl in New Zealand.
The Miss World 2012 pageant will be held in Mongolia on August 18.