Lana was born in Wellington and was educated at Karori West Normal School and Wellington High School. She continued her studies at Wellington Polytechnic, Waiariki Polytechnic, Massey University (Wellington) and CIT. She has the following qualifications: Certificate of Journalism, Certificate of Hospitality Operations and a Certificate of Public Relations. In 1989 she was a general reporter for Waitomo News and in 1990 she worked as a journalist with the Iwi Transition Agency. In 1992 she became Communications Officer at Te Puni Kokiri and in 1998 was appointed Communications Officer for the Waitangi Tribunal. From 2000 to the present she has been Communications Advisor to Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori. Lana is married and has two daughters. She was a finalist in the Huia Short Story Competition in 1998.
- Correspondence from Lana Simmons-Donaldson, 2 September 2004.
- Huia Short Stories 3. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 1999. 245
- "Mum on the Run." Huia Short Stories 3. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia, 1999. 181-187.
- "Kiritahi." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 27.
- Lana writes of her father’s tangi and her return to his marae, Kiritahi, by the Wanganui River.