- Was adopted at a very young age.
- Met ex-husband Desmond Park on a blind date in 1967 and married him six weeks later.
- Her version of "Nun's Chorus" composed by Johann Strauss was New Zealand's first gold record.
- Has received honorary degrees from eight British, one American and two New Zealand universities.
- Was awarded a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982, the Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990 and Order of New Zealand in 1995.
- Won the Edison Classical Music Award in 2008.
- Started the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, which provides scholarships to talented musicians.