Kiwi fashion designer honoured

23:35, Mar 25 2014
Karen Walker
RIDING HIGH: Karen Walker, photographed after the ceremony at Government House in Auckland, in her own design.

New Zealand designer Karen Walker was dressed in her own clothing head-to-toe at the ceremony where she became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented Walker with the honour in Auckland today.

The Auckland designer, whose products are available in more than 30 countries, said it took her about 30 seconds to decide on her outfit on her way out of the office last night.

Walker said it was easy to be "eye rolly and blase" in life, but it was important to take time to acknowledge things that were important.

Walker said she was driven to make ideas and originality important in New Zealand.

New Zealand's legacy was commodity-based rather than ideas-based, she said, adding that design and ideas-based businesses were just as important.

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Walker, who never gained a university degree, said the honour meant she had more letters after her name.
But she did not expect it to open doors in business for her.

"That's not what it's about."

Kiwi designer Trelise Cooper was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in this year's honours and World fashion label co-founder Francis Hooper was also made a member of the order.

Walker, who has been a member of the order since 2004, said each year there were more acknowledgements of the creative sector.

She would probably celebrate the honour in an airport tonight on her way to Paris, Walker said.

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