Wendy Pye, MBE, freshly minted Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, heads for the United States in two weeks for another marketing trip.
Will the honour boost the launch of her latest educational publishing programme? Perhaps in a Commonwealth country, she says, but probably not in the US. "You don't take these awards for that reason."
More importantly, "I think it brings a lot of accolades for New Zealand education," she says. "It's great that education publishing has been recognised. I feel it's a great celebration for the teachers and authors and great people in our country who can make something happen in people's lives."
Adding to her MBE for services to export awarded in 1994, the DNZM honours Dame Wendy "for services to business and education" - with the recognition for education clearly giving her much satisfaction.
As founder and managing director of the Wendy Pye Group, Dame Wendy has built one of the world's most successful educational export companies.
Her businesses specialise in publishing children's learning materials for literacy and maths in print and online. Her group's titles have sold more than 218 million copies in more than 20 countries.
Having started off in print and CD-Rom, Dame Wendy sees big opportunity in the expansion of mobile computing.
"My biggest dream now is to utilise all the digital technology and capture that on new applications that will be available across all mobile devices from early next year."
The new downloadable application would enable millions more children to learn to read, she said.
"My dream is really to make it happen for a whole lot more people, and I can do it now for $3. I can create readers across the world for $3, isn't that fantastic? Why not?"
As well as her passion for education, Dame Wendy shares a passion for horse racing with her husband Don, and was at the races on Saturday to watch her horses strut their stuff.
It's a famously costly sport. "Maybe I have to go out and sell more books to pay for it," said Dame Wendy.
On January 12 she'll be flying to the US to do just that, but needs no help from a DNZM to open doors.
"On the 22nd I'm at the cocktail party with President Obama in the inauguration," she says. "I'm actually highly thought of in the United States. I've carved my niche in America."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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