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Her song Throw Out The Grain is one of 14 finalists in the children's music section of the International Songwriting Competition.
Van Riel said this week five New Zealanders had made it into various finals, with one other - Rich Manic (Captain Festus McBoyle), of Te Atatu - also a children's category finalist.
Van Riel said many online contests were just marketing campaigns, but the ISC was ''a real competition'', and attracted 19,000 entries from around the world.
Gin Wigmore won the grand prize in 2005.
Van Riel said her song had a bluegrass feel to it and dealt with feeding farm animals.
''Two-thirds of world live in apartments in cities now, and a lot of people don't know where their food comes from.
''So, there's a piece about milking the cow and a little bit about having gratitude and looking after Mother Nature.''
Van Riel has released five albums but said she had moved towards children's music since her children were born.