With a smile and a song, Waste Free Wanda has been spreading the message of reducing one’s waste to primary school pupils across the region.
Behind the ’80s superhero character is singer Anna van Riel, of Hawea.
The germ of the idea began about 18 months ago.
As chairwoman of Plastic Free Wanaka, she discussed with her committee what they wanted to do for the year ahead.
‘‘I’ve been growing my children’s music and suggested I could perhaps create some songs around plastic waste and bring it through the schools.’’
The committee applied for funding from the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s waste minimisation fund.
‘‘We were really excited to successfully get that funding, and then when I created the songs I realised I needed a way to weave them together.’’
The idea of creating a musical came to Ms van Riel to tell the story of Waste Free Wanda.
She is a 12-year-old girl who lives in a town where everyone throws things into landfill until it is so full the ground starts to tremble.
Wanda goes on a journey of discovery on how to be smarter with waste and throw less away, also finding better ways to reuse and recycle.
Through music and song, children were able to learn simple lessons on how to be more mindful of the effects of waste, Ms van Riel said.
‘‘In the end, Wanda and her friends come up with a solution for the plastic, and what is really cool is that Wanda doesn’t actually have any super powers whatsoever, she just believes she can do it, and my hope is that audiences will watch the show and go ‘Hey, I could do that too’.’’