THE Vodafone Hibiscus Festival 2012 will focus on the combating of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
It has adopted the theme "Overcoming Non-Communicable Diseases in Fiji".
Vodafone Hibiscus committee executive secretary Aqela Cakobau said the theme had been decided after discussions with Vodafone Fiji on local issues.
"In the region there have been quite a number of deaths from NCDs and it is now quite prevalent in the region and the country," she said.
She said the Vodafone Hibiscus organising committee had gotten in touch with the Ministry of Health and was looking to promote the issue heavily through contestants in the Kings and Queens categories.
Ms Cakobau said yesterday's open auditions for the Kings category had brought in about 25 walk-in auditions.
"We are looking for young men and women who can use the Vodafone Hibiscus Festival as a platform to voice out their opinions and express themselves freely.
"They really have to show us what they have to offer because they are becoming ambassadors for our brand."
She said there had been less applications compared to previous years and as a result the committee would be taking their hunt for potential contestants to tertiary institutions.
"We actually had about 78 applicants for the Miss Hibiscus contestants however only 28 showed up to the actual auditions, it is one thing to apply and another to come and audition before the committee."
Ms Cakobau said being part of the Vodafone Hibiscus Festival opened up doors for young people and allowed them to realise their true potential that would otherwise have remained hidden.