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Sports Illustrated's first Polynesian plus-size model lands in New Zealand

Sports Illustrated model Veronica Pome’e is making waves and breaking barriers in the industry and she's just touched down in New Zealand.

Veronica is the first Polynesian plus-size model to grace the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Returning to the Pacific now as an adult, Pome’e says the powhiri really connected to her spiritually.

"To come back to the Pacific and get a real greeting of my ancestors before me - it just validates all work that I’m doing. It assures me that I’m going down the right path.

Of Tongan descent, but raised in South California, Pome’e’s on a mission to represent all curvy women of colour.

"I can’t take this position lightly," she told Te Karere.

"There is so much work to be done to raise awareness of the people of the Pacific. I want to shed more light on the fact we’re so talented and the beauty of our culture."

Pome’e follows in the footsteps of other Polynesian descent models.

Pania Rose of Māori and Dutch descent made an appearance for Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition back in 2006.

Pome’e is in New Zealand to raise awareness of being comfortable in your body and issues in the Pacific.

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Veronica Pome’e landed in Auckland this morning and was greeted with a powhiri. Source: Te Karere