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Brides take the prize

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Before Friday’s Bride of the Year, Alastair Scott had never judged an event.

Well, except for a pet lamb day – “but other than that I had never judged anything in my life”, the Wairarapa MP said.

Nineteen Wairarapa brides vied for the title of Bride of the Year on Friday night, but only one woman took out the top award.

Sara Atkins, nee Hurley, was crowned as Masterton Plunket’s 47th Bride of the Year winner, with other award winners being Levana Tufuga, nee Hampson, highly commended, Philippa Holmes, nee Lynch, commended, and Kellie Brice, nee Merson, as winner of the Rochelle Burnard Cup for the most original or innovative gown.

Judges on the night were Danielle Burkhart, owner of Hebe Designer Boutique, Jane Davis, CO of Carterton District Council, and Alastair Scott, Wairarapa MP.

Selfie time with 2016 Bride of the Year winner Sara Atkins and judge Alastair Scott, Wairarapa MP. PHOTO/SUE NIKOLAISON
Selfie time with 2016 Bride of the Year winner Sara Atkins and judge Alastair Scott, Wairarapa MP. PHOTO/SUE NIKOLAISON

“It was good fun, you could see the brides were all being reminded of their own wedding day,” Mr Scott said.

“It was very nice to see all their families there as well, seeing the beautiful bride again.”

He said it was great to see all the brides put themselves out there and give it a go – “it was better than the pet lamb competition”.

Masterton Plunket convenor Margaret Bourke said it was a very successful event, with well over 200 people attending the awards at Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Solway Park.

“Judges had a very difficult job because all the girls were so beautiful,” she said.

As this year’s winner, Mrs Atkins, took home a queen mattress and base, valued at $2600, cluster stud earrings with 0.2 carat diamonds, $749, and other gifts from Wairarapa businesses.

The competition was open to brides married between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016 who were married in Wairarapa, have lived in Wairarapa, or whose husband has lived in Wairarapa.

Last year Ana Whiteacre-Burt (nee Whiteacre) took top honours.


  1. I’m wondering how ‘Bride of the Year’ is judged. Is it on their accomplishments, what they give back to society or is it based on beauty alone? The article does not indicate anything other than their names and that the winner won a queen mattress/base/diamond earrings and other items. Wow, it sounds like a contest from back in the 1950’s (and that is not a compliment)!

    • Cindy Waters – It’s all about the wedding stuff, not any accomplishments. ‘A contest from back n the 1950s’ – well, we still eat food and that has been around for a lot longer than the BOTY competitions, which are run all over NZ and have done for many years.
      If you don’t like BOTY competitions, which is fine, you won’t like having a traditional-style wedding yourself I guess, and the dressing up for the day and all the rest, and having a photographer either.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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