How Dame Pieter Stewart Balances Her Life

Dame Pieter Stewart with her grandchildren. Picture / Supplied

As the founder and strategic director of New Zealand Fashion Week, there’s no doubt Dame Pieter Stewart’s schedule intensifies as the event nears each year. However thanks to things such as meditation and jazz music, Dame Pieter keeps her cool.

In times when information on wellbeing can be somewhat overwhelming, she makes a case for the simple power of getting back to basics.

Starting the day with meditation, a cup of tea, the news and a bath or shower followed by a quick breakfast — yoghurt and fruit or a homemade muesli recipe from Gwinganna Health Retreat.

“On the weekends when I’m not racing out the door to work I’ll have toast, eggs and bacon. I like salads and lots of vegetables. I eat some meat but not a huge amount. And I like to snack. I am prone to grabbing a handful of nuts or sometimes a piece of chocolate.”

Several mornings a week, Pieter heads to the gym and works out with a personal trainer, combining weights, cardio and stretching. Once she gets to the office, it’s all go until she steps out the door again. “My job is to steer the event so I’m being asked questions all day.”

Unwinding in the evenings revolves around reading and jazz or classical music, and heading to bed just after nine. Spending time with her grandchildren (pictured) is also among the ways she takes care of herself.

“In my early 40s in particular, I had a couple of years of bad physical health and it made it very difficult to live normally. It was a really hard time.

That’s when I started paying more attention to eating healthily, I learned to meditate, exercised regularly, and really focused on the positive. I learned a lot about myself and cultivated some important wellbeing habits.”

The first book in Alison Weir's series Six Tudor Queens. I usually read a book a week, and sometimes get on a Kindle roll of following an author — it's so easy.

All quite simple. For skincare I've used Guinot products for a long time but they've been discontinued, so I need to start looking for something new.
I use a serum, eye cream and moisturiser, but I don't go overboard. I always use sunscreen in summer and I protect my skin as much as possible.

I use a lot of M.A.C products. I love their strobe, highlighters and face washes. I tend to wear more tinted moisturiser than foundation, which I find too heavy for my skin.

Madeleine Albright is an amazing woman and really blazed a path as the first US female Secretary of State — she was well before her time. Michelle Obama — she's academic and incredibly stylish. I think we'll be seeing more of her in the future. If I think specifically about fashion, it has to be Coco Chanel and the amazing legacy she created.

It's quite simple really — tidy bed, tidy desk, tidy day. Untidiness annoys me — I need to have clean spaces around me.

New Zealand Fashion Week runs from August 28 to September 3. Tickets to in-season shows, seminars, parties and more at New Zealand Fashion Weekend are available to purchase now from

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