Our People

New Zealand Nutrition Foundation Staff










Chief Executive: Jane Bollard, Bsc (Nutrition), Dip Bust St (Health Management), Dip Bus (Finance) 
Jane joined the organisation in May 2022 and looks forward to working with the Board and team to lead the organisation into the future. Jane has operated as a consultant for over 15 years in the charity sector. She brings extensive experience in chief executive, general management and board roles across a range of health and community organisations. Jane’s passion is for developing sustainable organisations who are best able to meet their purpose.

Nutritionist: Anna MrkusicDip HSc, Dip Teaching, PGD Education, PGD Science (Community Nutrition), Master of Philosophy
Anna is a food and nutrition teacher with over 30 years’ experience. Her work has involved helping pupils develop skills and knowledge to effectively manage and maintain lifelong diet quality. There has been an emphasis on nutrition and health-related issues that influence individuals, families and communities, as well as what actions can be taken to improve their well-being. It was during her Masters Research project in 2011 that Anna decided she would like to work in health promotion and nutritional education at a national level. Anna was appointed to the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation Council in October 2013 and in 2015 Anna has taken up a project manager’s role with the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation.

Nutritionist: Andrea Ler, BCom/BSc, GradDipCom, GradDipSc
Andrea graduated from Massey University in 2013, majoring in Human Nutrition. Andrea joined the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation team in 2014 as a Research Assistant with the Just Cook programme ‘My Food My Future’. She worked closely with the Liggins Institute and The National Institute for Health Innovation to develop a fun, interactive teaching tool which encourages youth to learn about food and cooking family meals. In 2015, Andrea has taken up the role of Nutritionist with the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation.

Grants Advisor: Jeanette Franklyn​, DipPharm
Jeanette has over 15 years experience working in the Grants space after leaving community pharmacy to start her family.  She joins the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation to grow the Foundation’s financial diversity and stability.

Board Members

Niki Russell (Chair), Nutrition Care Ltd

Niki is a Registered Dietitian and is the business owner of Nutrition Care Ltd. Niki has worked in New Zealand and overseas as a dietitian in clinical nutrition and food service management. She works across a wide range of dietetic specialties including nutrition for older person, nutrition and cancer, prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, weight management, nutrition for families. Niki has worked closely with medical centres to provide nutrition consultancy as part of their diabetes management programmes in primary care. She delivers nutrition education sessions to local organisations including NGO’s, government departments, residential facilities including rest homes and group home providers. Niki provides dietitian consultancy services to ACC. She is a dietitian prescriber.

Carol Wham (Scientific Director), Massey University

Carol Wham is Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Massey University. She is an experienced dietitian and an Associate Editor of ‘Nutrition and Dietetics’ and ‘Frontiers in Nutrition.’ She has undertaken a sustained programme of research focused on improving the nutritional health of older people. Carol has been an investigator in two longitudinal studies of ageing; Life and Living to Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand and within the New Zealand Health, Work
and Retirement Study. She has examined malnutrition across community, hospital and residential care settings and leads the ENRICH study which seeks to Evaluate Nutrition Risk and Intervene to enCourage Healthy eating. Her current research includes a co-designed study with Pacific Heartbeat to improve the food intake of Pacific pre-schoolers.  A feasibility study using participatory engagement with end-user groups (Pacific communities; parents of pre-schoolers) will assess the acceptability of nutrition screening and intervention initiatives to improve Pacific pre-schooler eating habits.

Niki Bezzant (Board Member), Writer

Niki Bezzant is a multi-award-winning New Zealand writer, journalist, editor and author who has built a reputation for translating complex health and science jargon into easy-to-understand information for everyone. Her book This Changes Everything: the honest guide to menopause and perimenopause, was published in 2022 and topped the bestseller list. Niki has been involved in New Zealand media for more than 20 years. She is a frequent contributor to New Zealand’s top print, online and broadcast media including the NZ Listener and RNZ. She founded and edited the Cuisine website before becoming founding editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine, taking that title from an independent start-up to New Zealand’s top-selling food magazine, a position it held for over a decade. In 2018 Niki presented a 10,000-signature petition to parliament for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Niki is a sought-after speaker and advocate for menopause awareness and women’s health.

Justin Alblas (Treasurer),  Consultant

Mindy Wigzell (Board Member), Foodstuffs

Mindy Wigzell is a Registered Nutritionist with broad experience in nutrition across clinical dietetics, foodservice, food industry, private practice, management and governance roles.  After graduating and working as a dietitian in London, Mindy returned home to New Zealand in 2012 and worked in various food industry roles, including global Head of Nutrition at Fonterra. Currently, she is Community Nutrition and Food for Thought Manager at Foodstuffs, leading a team of Nutritionists delivering the Food for Thought – a free nutrition education programme available to primary schools across the country. Mindy joined the NZ Nutrition Foundation Board in 2017 and is passionate about finding practical ways to help people eat well and find great health and wellbeing through the goodness of food. In her spare time, you can find Mindy enjoying a walk in nature, at the gym, or trying new recipes (making a huge mess in the kitchen in the process).

Geoff Kira (Advisor on Food Security), Victoria University of Wellington

Geoff is Associate Professor Physical Activity and Wellbeing at Te Hau Kori, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. He originally hails from the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand with his hapū being Ngāitupango. He grew up in poverty, but in a resilient whānau. They established a large garden full of high-value whole foods and also embraced different ways to prepare food. He currently resides in rural Manawatū with his son, where they rehabilitate dogs and horses with positive reinforcement training. Geoff’s favourite things to do are writing, watching movies, and playing in the great outdoors – hiking, swimming or tubing down the local awa. His research work has been focused on food security and social justice-oriented, community-based, food access programmes. This research has now developed into a systems approach that embraces complexity and social innovation. He has worked with iwi (Ngāti Kahungunu, central government (MPI, MSD and Ministry of Health) and Non-Government Organisations (Agencies for Nutrition Action and Kore Hiakai) to advise on food security initiatives.

Last modified: March 12, 2024