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Our Board

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ANNA VAN RIEL - Chief Executive and Entertainment Officer

The Wanda Foundations founder Anna van Riel is based in Lake Håwea.

She is a director of non-profit grassroots organisation Plastic free Wånaka which was launched in 2016, and is on the board of trustees for Kiwi Kids Music, growing the children’s music sector in Aotearoa.

As a singer/songwriter and creative, Anna launched her one-woman 1980’s inspired rock opera for kids called Waste Free Wanda in February 2020. As well as advocating for the arts and creative wellbeing, the show focuses on imparting tools and ideas around what we can do, at a time when children are bombarded with all the things that feel overwhelming on the planet, including single-use waste.

Anna tours both Waste Free Wanda and her folk music in New Zealand. She is a touring performing artist, and a mother of two. She loves growing veges, homesteading and doing the odd jazzercise routine in 80’s getup.

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Anna (the other Anna), works currently as a facilitator for the Enviroschools programme in Central Otago. Anna's excitement and passion for the arts, sustainable and positive change for the future through learning in multiple forms is evident through her work and home life.


She has experience with running community based arts and sustainability events such as the Thyme Festival (2015 - 2019) and also has a background of performance through dance. 

At home she is raising 2 children, growing veges and building soil for her home gardens and around the community with kick ass composting! 

Anna is committed to continue sharing and developing her skills, support positive outlets for education and the arts and sees the Waste Free Wanda Foundation as an immensely important and critical part of bringing arts and education together to help catalyse positive change. This art and education combination fires up the head and the heart, something the future of our planet requires from all of us. 

Anna feels immensely privileged and humbled to be given the opportunity to work with the Waste Free Wanda Foundation.

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Since forever, Ella has been passionate about caring for the environment, and the people and communities who depend on it. For 20 years Ella has studied and pursued a deeper understanding of what inspires people to care for the environment as much as she does. From her research and experience, Ella knows the best way to support and empower people’s learning and motivation for change is through fun, creative and engaging experiences. Ella believes in order to create a sustainable future and that we need a Waste Free Wanda character in every town, which is why she is so excited to be part of the Wanda Foundation.

Ella currently works across multiple agencies, where she supports the primary industry sector to move toward land management practices that create thriving environments and people. Ella has had a varied career having been involved in local government as an elected member, sat on several funding bodies, worked for tertiary education institutions teaching strategic sustainable practice and holds a PhD in resource accounting (specifically using the concept of an ‘ecological footprint’). 

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With an innate super power of seeing the bigger picture, Nicola Cross brings marketing insight and vision to The Wanda Foundation Board. A smart business woman and entrepreneur, Nicola was the founder of the successful Wanaka refillery Honest Wholefood Co.


Having now moved onto other ventures, Nicola is focussing her energy on her passion for sustainable marketing, her vegetable garden and sustainable, conscious living. With a keen spirit for volunteering and growing a sustainable community on all levels, particularly when it comes to promoting creativity, this savvy mother of two plays a valuable role on our board of trustees.


Based in Lake Håwea, Nicola loves growing food, heading off for a run and jumping in the lake in the middle of winter.

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