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Family

Real Housewives of Auckland's Anne Batley-Burton on the sad secret to her business success

The reality star reveals how her dad has been her guiding force.

Real Housewives of Auckland star Anne Batley-Burton is sitting on the deck of a gorgeous mansion in Queenstown, impeccably coiffed and made-up, sipping on a glass of Champagne and soaking up the view.
"It's not too bad, is it?" she chuckles.
"Queenstown, what an absolutely stunning place."
Anne has taken the latest series of her show Keeping Up with the Champagne Lady, which screens on Face TV, out of its Auckland studio to showcase some of the country's most spectacular locations, along with her favourite restaurants, bars and shops.
"I'm so excited about getting out and about this series," Anne says.
"It's not all about Auckland, even though some people might think it is! I want to take the show to places I'm genuinely interested in. Queenstown, let's face it, there are huge numbers of visitors coming here not only from New Zealand, but all around the world. It's a real go-to destination.
"I'm hoping to get to Hawke's Bay, Martinborough, Mount Maunganui, all sorts of different areas. They all have so much to offer and have the things I love! Fabulous food, wine and wonderful places to shop."
Keeping Up with the Champagne Lady airs on Face TV, Tuesdays at 8.30pm. Image: Norrie Montgomery
The reality television star's characteristic enthusiasm belies a deep sadness.
She is chatting to the Weekly during the filming of the first two episodes of her show, just days after the death of her beloved dad Herbert (Bert) Batley, aged 97.
"Everyone asked me if I wanted to postpone the trip to Queenstown," tells Anne, "but actually, it's probably done me good to get away from all of the sadness and stress. Dad was really suffering in that last week, it was so upsetting for all of us.
"We had Dad's private cremation with just a tight-knit group of people who really loved him."
The family also later had a celebration of Bert's life with music, fun and lots of reminiscing about her beloved dad.
Anne also didn't want to let down anyone she had organised meetings with in Queenstown.
"Everything was all booked," she says.
"And one of the main things my dad taught me was the importance of reliability. If somebody asks me to do something, they can count on me 100% that I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."
Anne enjoyed a close bond with her father as she and her brother Don lived with him after her parents split up when they were young.
"He was the one person I could always count on," she explains.
"When he started working at 13, he was cleaning toilets. The boss at Dawson's Printing said, 'I've never seen these toilets so clean, who's been cleaning them?'
He ended up as the manager there. That's him to a tee, he wasn't too good to clean the toilets."
'Champagne Lady' Anne gets her bubbly personality and work ethic from her dad Bert.
Bert entrusted Anne with big jobs, right from a young age.
She joined her father's business, Batley Printing Company Ltd, full-time in 1976 after completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Auckland University.
She quickly became her father's right-hand woman and was the first female (and youngest) public company director in New Zealand.
Anne also credits her father with her can-do attitude.
"Dad was always saying, 'If you're passionate about something and want a change to be made, you've got to do it. You can't leave it to somebody else!'"
Anne with her Real Housewives of Auckland co-stars (from left) Michelle Blanchard, Julia Sloane, Louise Wallace, Gilda Kirkpatrick and Angela Stone.
A devoted cat lover, Anne certainly hasn't stood by when her feline friends needed help.
She set up The New Zealand Cat Foundation to care for stray and abandoned cats, and pours large amounts of her own money into the 'Pussy Palace for Pensioners', a shelter she created on her property at Goose Creek in Kumeu.
Her work, along with the help of volunteers, has ensured the health, desexing and upkeep of hundreds of cats.
"Dad's been the most important guiding force in my whole life. He's a very hard act to follow," enthuses Anne.
"It's funny, he always used to say to me, 'You don't listen to a damn thing I say. I don't know why I bother speaking.' I'd say, 'Dad, I do listen, but it doesn't mean I'm always going to do what you tell me!' But I've always taken on board the
really important things."

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