Balclutha resident Karina Mulrine was a finalist in the recent annual IHC Art Awards, and had her knitted blanket auctioned off for $520.
From about 400 candidates around the country, Ms Mulrine made it into the group of 30 finalists who were hosted at Shed 6 in Wellington late last month.
Ms Mulrine and her support worker, Arlie Aitkenhead, travelled to the capital for the award ceremony.
Mrs Aitkenhead, who entered Ms Mulrine into the competition, said when the artist found out about her selection, “she was very excited”.
The pair were treated to afternoon tea and got to meet some high-profile New Zealanders, including National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett and television presenter Mark Sainsbury.
“We got a photo taken with Mark,” said Mrs Aitkenhead.
The flights were paid for, along with a stay in the QT Museum hotel after the ceremony.
“I was tired after that,” Ms Mulrine said.
Mrs Aitkenhead said there were artworks of every kind at the awards, from paintings to pottery. But Ms Mulrine was alone in her category, having submitted the only knitted piece.
She said it took her more than two years to make, “piece by piece” and another was now under way.