Unduk Ngadau

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Scarlett Megan and Cheryl Lynn during the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2014 finale

Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan is a beauty pageant held annually during the Kaamatan cultural event in Sabah, Malaysia.[1]


The Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant is held to commemorate the spirit of Huminodun, a mythological character of unparalleled beauty said to have given her life in exchange for a bountiful harvest for her community. She was the sacrificed daughter of the Kadazandusun spirits, Kinorohingan and Suminundu.

The title comes from the ethnic words Runduk Tadau which mean 'the girl crowned by the sunlight'. Unduk Ngadau is one of the most recognisable cultural events in Sabah and the beauty pageant is unique to the state. In Rungus Language, Runduk means "to communicate", and Tadau means "the Sun". Thus, Unduk Ngadau translates to communicate with Sundu (Kinorohingan) or God asking for blessing of sunlight.

Joanna Kitingan (chairperson of UNK) said, “the Unduk Ngadau winner is supposed to be able to exude a high degree of moral because they are representing the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut women. We are also looking at a winner who can be the role model to the younger generation and has a spirit of voluntarism in being willing to sacrifice her time for the community, besides being intelligent to ably present our country, culture and tourism to the world."[2]

Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan (1987–present)[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1987 Joan Glory Tommy Tanjung Aru
1988 Jennie Alasa Penampang
1989 Deidre Peter Mojuntin Penampang She was the daughter of a local politician, the late Datuk Peter Mojuntin.
1990 Julia Agustine Tanjung Aru
1991 Sylvia Sandralisa Orow Tuaran Currently lives in New York City, New York, USA.
1992 Anita Pudin Putatan
1993 Luzie @ Lucy Tham Inanam
1994 Agatha Nora Lojimin Penampang
1995 Justinah Manius Kawang Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Papar 1995. However, she had the opportunity to represent Kawang.
1996 Lynnefra @ Lynn Alfera Wong Sandakan
1997 Jan Lisamarrie William Bongawan Winner in Unduk Ngadau Papar 1997.
1998 Jeremia Ginajil Inanam 1st Runner Up Unduk Ngadau Inanam 1998
1999 Kathie Renjus Inanam
2000 Regina Intang Melalap Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tenom 2000. She was permitted to represent Melalap.
2001 Nicolita Sanseh Masi Putatan 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Penampang 2001.
2002 Patrecia Raymond Kiulu 2nd runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2002.
2003 Daphne M.Iking Kuala Lumpur She hails from Tambunan district and best known as a TV host.
2004 Fharelynne Ivonne Henry Tamparuli 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2004.
2005 Madelyne M. Nandu Penampang
2006 Devenna Jaikob Sulaman Runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Tuaran 2006. She also won the Unduk Ngadau SAPP 2006.
2007 Joanna Sue Henley Rampas Tuaran She is half British.
2008 Leonie Lawrence Gontuni Penampang
2009 Appey Rowenna Januin Papar
2010 Crystel Eve Huminodun William Majimbun Tanjung Aru 1st runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Kota Kinabalu 2010. Her mother, Esther Sikayun won the same title in 1984.
2011 Botiza Disimon Penampang
2012 Melinda Louis Telupid
2013 Immaculate Lojuki Kota Kinabalu Her sister Mary Grace Lojuki competed in 2018 and placed as the 5th Runner Up also representing Kota Kinabalu
2014 Cheryl Lynn Pinsius Kota Kinabalu Previously, she was the Unduk Ngadau Inanam 2011.
2015 Ryannie Neils Yong Tanjung Aru 2nd runner-up in Unduk Ngadau Kota Kinabalu 2015. Her late father was a Chinese.
2016 Sherry Anne Laujang Penampang The most competitive Unduk Ngadau year when she managed to beat the first runner up, Claryssa Henry Ogodong who is crowd favour. Nevertheless, they both remain good friend no matter how people compare them together.
2017 Kerinah Mah Kota Kinabalu She is a Sino-Tombonuo[3] and was the Unduk Ngadau Pitas 2015.
2018 Hosiani Jaimis Inanam She hails from Tambunan

Former editions (1960–1986)[edit]

Before the official title was changed, the pageant was called Miss Kadazan in the 60s, Miss Harvest Festival in the 70s and Ratu Pesta Menuai from 1980 to 1986. The title Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan began to be used from 1987 until present.

Miss Kadazan 1960–1970[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1960 Yong Mee Lan @ Mui Lan Penampang Her title was Hahaangai 1960. 25 contestants from various districts including some regions in Penampang competing in this very first competition.
1961 Talian Bunal Papar
1962 Marcella Tiansim Papar
1963 Mary Badak Putatan
1964 Rita Bagong Tuaran Known as Datuk Rita Jaafar.
1965 Molina Daniel Papar
1966 Patricia Sinidol Penampang She is Datuk Fred Sinidol's sister. Her sister, Evelyn Sinidol won the same title in 1972.
1967 Florence Bibi Kaur Singh Papar Known as Datuk Dr Hajah Bibi Florina Abdullah. She is Punjabi-mixed and is the current (2018) Pro Chancellor of Lincoln University College, a private college in Kelana Jaya, Malaysia.
1968 Rita Mojilis Penampang She is a local singer along with her sisters.
1969 Sylvia Totu Penampang Her sister, Edwina Totu won the same title in 1976.
1970 Helen Mojiniu Penampang

Miss Harvest Festival 1971–1980[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1971 Mary @ Mili Jaikoh Imbayan Tamparuli She was the 2nd runner-up in the previous edition.
1972 Evelyn Sinidol Penampang Her sister, Patricia Sinidol won the same title in 1966.
1973 Prisca Tikoh Penampang
1974 Susanna Jipanis Penampang
1975 Rita Sikawah Penampang
1976 Edwina Totu Penampang Her sister, Sylvia Totu won the same title in 1969.
1977 Mary Marjorie Kinjau Penampang Her sister, Janet Kinjau won the same title in 1983.
1978 Veronica Jefferin Penampang
1979 Mary Solly Tanjung Aru
1980 Roslina Amit Tuaran The only Muslim winner ever.

Ratu Pesta Menuai 1981–1986[edit]

Year Winner District/Subdistrict Note
1981 Janet Dabi Penampang
1982 Margaret Dolly Jimayol Beaufort
1983 Janet Kinjau Penampang Her sister, Mary Marjorie Kinjau won the same title in 1977.
1984 Esther Sikayun Penampang Her daughter, Crystel Eve Huminodun won the same title in 2010.
1985 Florence Jipiu Penampang
1986 Johanna Sybil Disimond Penampang Her first cousin, Jane Peter Disimond (representing Penampang) was the 2nd runner-up in 1979, while their niece, Botiza Arthur Disimond, won in 2011.


Some districts hold joint pageants which produce more than one representative. Notably, Tuaran and Tamparuli hold a joint pageant with the winner going on to representing Tuaran, and the first runner-up representing Tamparuli.

Beginning in 1995, Sabahans residing in Peninsular Malaysia have been allowed to participate in the state pageant. The first winner from Klang Valley was Daphne M. Iking in 2003. Then in the following year, Janeitha Stephen was a representative from Klang Valley as well, placed as the first runner up to Tamparuli's Fharelynne Ivonne Henry in 2004. Many of the Klang Valley representatives had their best placement in the competition: 2001(2nd runner up), 2005(4th runner up), 2007(6th runner up), 2008(6th runner up), 2013(5th runner up), 2014(6th runner up), 2016(5th runner up) and 2017(5th runner up). In 2014, the state of Johor in Peninsular Malaysia has been included in the list for the final competition with condition the representative is of Sabahan KDMR descent.

Since 2012, the final question format has become more interesting when the final contestants must answer two given questions in their mother tongue and in Bahasa Malaysia respectively. Eventually, Melinda Louis from Telupid was the first contestant ever who succeeded the newly formatted final round and she was crowned as Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan 2012.

The state-level pageant is held on 31 May annually at the Hongkod Koisaan building or known as the KDCA building in Penampang, and is the highlight and ending point of the month-long Kaamatan celebrations.

Districts/sub-districts by winning the title[edit]

District/sub-district Titles Year(s)
Penampang 24 1960, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2016
Tanjung Aru 5 1979, 1987, 1990, 2010, 2015
Papar 5 1961, 1962, 1965, 1967, 2009
Tuaran 4 1964, 1980, 1991, 2007
Inanam 4 1993, 1998, 1999 , 2018
Putatan 3 1963, 1992, 2001
Kota Kinabalu 3 2013, 2014, 2017
Tamparuli 2 1971, 2004
Sandakan 1 1996
Sulaman 1 2006
Kiulu 1 2002
Kuala Lumpur 1 2003
Melalap 1 2000
Telupid 1 2012
Beaufort 1 1982
Kawang 1 1995
Bongawan 1 1997


  1. ^ Barlocco, Fausto (2013). Identity and the State in Malaysia. Routledge. p. 126. ISBN 9781317932390. 
  2. ^ Lan (21 April 2016). "Unduk Ngadau 2016: Is she the next Huminodun or a Beauty Queen for 365 days?". Food, Culture, Arts, Places and Events in Malaysia & beyond... Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Geraldine, Avila (31 May 2017). "Kerinah Mah, crowned the new Unduk Ngadau queen". New Straits Times. Retrieved 19 May 2018. 

External links[edit]