TV queen Julie Christie appointed Dame Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit

Reality TV matriarch Julie Christie has been appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and the television industry.

Dame Julie was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 for services to film and television.

"When I got the letter I was very shocked," she told Newshub. She doesn't know who nominated her or why, but presumes it was for her work in business and promotion of New Zealand overseas.

Dame Julie established Touchdown Productions in 1991, which became New Zealand's largest producer of entertainment TV. It made a number of popular TV shows including Treasure Island, Game of Two Halves and My House, My Castle.

She has won a number of film and television awards, was a member of the organising board of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a board member of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise from 2009 to 2015, is a current board member of MediaWorks, and was a member of the New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel.

Asked if she had any regrets in her career, she says she was a very demanding employer.

"It's tough when you have a lot of staff, and probably I could have learnt a little bit more empathy.

"With age I guess I've softened - it's not all about the work anymore. But there was a time when I was definitely a workaholic."

She says there are many achievements she's proud of, including negotiating hard for producers to have rights to their TV shows.

"Before that we all signed contracts where the broadcaster took everything. I kind of led that wave of really fighting for rights to our own TV shows."

She says she'll be celebrating with her family, who've been with her through the good and tough times.