Zara Phillips was a glamorous guest of honour at a glitzy bash at Auckland's SkyCity Convention Centre last night.

The private event was organised by CatWalk Trust, a charity founded by former champion rider Catriona Williams who became a tetraplegic after a horse riding accident in 2005 which dashed her dreams of competing in the Athens Olympics.

Ms Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter and the daughter of Princess Anne, is a patron of the trust, which supports spinal cord injury research, and spoke at the event.

She wore a floor-length black silk gown with sequined detail, paired with black heels, and her short blonde hair was loose.

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Zara Phillips and CatWalk Trust founder Catriona Williams at the gala dinner last night. Ms Phillips was the charity's guest of honour. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Zara Phillips and CatWalk Trust founder Catriona Williams at the gala dinner last night. Ms Phillips was the charity's guest of honour. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

The royal mingled with guests outside one of the conference rooms, chatting and posing for photographs, before people were let into the room for dinner.

Guests sipped on sparkling wine, but Ms Phillips did the rounds without a drink in her hand.

TVNZ's Toni Street and her former Breakfast co-host Rawdon Christie MCeed the event which celebrated the charity's 10th anniversary.

Richie McCaw, Toni Street, Lance O'Sullivan, Sir Mark Todd, Sir Brian Lochore, Sarah Walker, Aaron Slight and Dion Nash are also patrons of the trust.

Ms Phillips arrived in New Zealand on Thursday and yesterday visited the University of Auckland's Centre for Brain Research.

The 34-year-old is a champion equestrienne and won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics as a member of the Great Britain eventing team.