5 May 2024

Say hello to the 2025 Miss Wagga Wagga Quest entrants

| Jarryd Rowley
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quest entrants with cake

The Miss Wagga Wagga Quest, one of the country’s longest-serving community titles, has officially launched its 77th year with six entrants. Photo: Matt Deitrich Photography.

The search for Miss Wagga Wagga 2025 has officially begun with six new entrants submitting their names for this year’s quest.

Looking to build their confidence and break free of their comfort zones, Maggie Enever, Belinda Kyatt, Amy Hickey, Gabby Hewson, Kathryn Dedini and Shauna Lamotte have been named this year’s entrants.

Over the next six months, the six entrants will look to express themselves to community members while also raising funds at several events for the quest’s four beneficiaries; Ronald McDonald House, Country Hope, The Sarah Lloyd Scholarship Fund and Riding for the Disabled.

Wednesday night’s (1 May) launch served as the first event on the Miss Wagga Wagga Quest calendar and allowed the six women to introduce themselves alongside their sponsors.

Here are this year’s entrants:

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Maggie Enever

Sponsored by Chronicle Athlete Development Centre
quest entrant

Maggie has called Wagga Wagga home for more than 34 years. Born and raised on a dairy farm, Maggie has lived her life following her parents’ motto: ‘Have a go, because you never know.”

Following a rough bout of pancreatitis in 2022, Maggie began seeing Wagga in a new light, resulting in her listening to her parents’ advice once more by signing up for the Chronicle Athlete Development Centre.

Upon living a healthier and more meaningful life, Maggie met her friend and fellow 2025 entrant Amy Hickey, who encouraged her to enter the Miss Wagga Wagga Quest.

During the launch, Maggie explained that for her, Wagga Wagga has always meant home. Despite travelling most of her adult life, she always looked forward to coming home.

“One of my favourite places to visit in Wagga Wagga is Lake Albert,” Maggie explained.

“There are moments [visiting the lake] where I would catch myself staring into the still-like water that make me realise just how beautiful my home town can be.

“To answer what Wagga Wagga means to me, it is a strong sense of belonging, where I feel right at home.”

Belinda Kyatt

Sponsored by Larry’s
quest entrant

Originally hailing from Queanbeyan, Belinda moved to Wagga Wagga in 2023. Despite not having lived in the Riverina long, she described the move to Wagga as a logical one.

“Much like the way that the Queanbeyan River eventually flows into the Murrumbidgee, I knew that my future lay in the west of this great state,” Belinda said.

She first visited Wagga in 2022 and was amazed by how much there is to see and do.

“I completely fell in love with the fairy lights in the tree at the Victory Memorial Gardens and the way the world is represented in the many cafes and restaurants across the city,” she said.

Belinda’s love of food and coffee, especially macarons, led her to Larry’s, which agreed to sponsor her for the quest.

She said that for her, Wagga Wagga could be summed up by one word: opportunity. She explained that since living in Wagga Wagga, she had joined the local Rotary club, which had helped her build her confidence and planning skills while also allowing her to meet new and exciting people.

“Wagga Wagga has already afforded me many opportunities,” Belinda said.

“It’s a beautiful place and I thank my lucky stars that I call it my home.”

Amy Hickey

Sponsored by Nikola Kinder Photography
quest entrant

Amy’s relationship with Wagga Wagga began about 10 years ago after deciding to leave her home town of Deniliquin to begin studying as a teacher at Charles Sturt University. Through her studies, she said, she had been afforded many opportunities to better understand the city of Wagga Wagga and its community.

“Taking part in the Refugee Action Support Program whilst at uni, where I tutored students from Wagga High, deepened my understanding of how welcoming Wagga is,” Amy said.

“This experience helped me consolidate that I was on the right path, which led me towards my current position as a classroom teacher at Henschke Catholic Primary School.”

Amy said that since becoming a classroom teacher, she had found her place in a community that has seen her commit to pastoral care and supporting children and their families through faith.

After much thought, Amy said the word that described Wagga best was empowerment.

She said the support of her sponsor, Nikola Kinder, empowered her to enter this year’s quest and that by being an entrant, she hoped to empower others in the Wagga community.

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Gabby Hewson

Sponsored by Bush & Campbell Accountants
quest entrant

Gabby has spent her entire life in Wagga Wagga and declared there was no other place she would even consider calling home.

“I feel at home when driving down the green leafy streets of the city, walking down the traps around Wagga Wagga and listening to the carolling of magpies and the distant laugh of a kookaburra,” Gabby said.

Reflecting on the great facilities that Wagga Wagga has to offer, she said her favourite had always been the library.

“My relationship with the library started at quite a young age, when my mum used to take me for story time,” she recalled.

Gabby remembers applying for her first library card and borrowing more books than she could possibly ever read.

More recently, she joined the Rotaract Club of Wagga Wagga, where she said she had been given some incredible opportunities and met many of her great friends.

For her, Wagga means home, opportunity and community. Having lived her entire life in Wagga, it’s her home, and the city’s facilities provide opportunity. And by working with organisations such as Rotaract, she has found community.

Kathryn Dedini

Sponsored by GTES
quest entrant

A mother-of-four, Kathryn was motivated to enter the 2025 Miss Wagga Wagga Quest by the 2024 titleholder Valika Hayes, whom she has known for a number of years.

Kathryn said she loved hearing how Velika had grown, and seeing women like Velika answer the challenge had made her want to follow suit.

During the launch, Kathryn admitted that she was more comfortable working as a tradie underneath trucks, on a farm or checking IDs, but that the quest was an opportunity to break free of her comfort zone and experience something she wouldn’t normally consider.

Despite living in Wagga her whole life, Kathryn revealed she didn’t always love the city.

“I was looking through the eyes of a teenager: that wasn’t a Wagga thing, that was a me thing,” she said.

“I’m glad that through getting out and into the community and meeting many different people, I started looking at Wagga in a different light.”

Kathryn said she was inspired by the people she worked with, and the people she had met were what she appreciated most about the city.

Shauna Lamotte

Sponsored by Burinkshaw Air Pty Ltd
quest entrant

As a Lake Albert local, Shauna looks back at her 23 years in Wagga Wagga fondly.

Growing up, she said, she always enjoyed being outside and mingling with other members of the community, whether that be other kids or popular town figures like the owner of the nearest fish-and-chip shop.

This year, Shauna began her own small business, which provides personal training.

She said running a small business was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, things she’d ever done.

“This city has offered me countless opportunities for me to grow, learn and network, proving that the community cares for small-business owners like me, who just want to succeed,” she said.

“I believe that anyone can find inspiration and achieve their goals in a town like this.”

Shauna said that for her, Wagga meant three things: nostalgia, possibility and contentment.

She said she was nostalgic for the time she had lived in Wagga already and excited at the possibilities the city offered, while also hoping that in the future she would find contentment with the things she accomplished.

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