In five words, describe your place in the sector.
Project Collection Manager Auckland Museum
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
I remember early at University, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I studied English, History, Politics and Art History. My grades in Politics and Art History were slightly better, leading me to drop the other two. But it was a course which took me to the Sydney Biennale in 2008 that really opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities of the GLAM sector. After that I really wanted to work with museum collections and produce exhibitions. The next big thing was working with taonga at Tāmaki Paenga Hira. I’ve had some moving moments here.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
First of all I think it’s very difficult to get a start and I was lucky to do so. I worked at the Wallace Arts Trust, Pah Homestead as the collections and exhibitions coordinator which was a challenging role but one where I was an integral part of the overall management of a collection and had significant input in the production of exhibitions. I also worked there while completing my Museum Studies PgDip, starting my MA in Art History there and completing it recently while at the Auckland Museum. Balancing my education and ‘real world’ technical experience perhaps was the largest challenge I have faced so far.
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
Yes, I’m lucky to have supportive friends, family and mentors around me.
What do you think people at your own level (emerging etc) bring to the sector?
It’s so important to have young people and emerging professionals in real, substantial roles in museums. We can do it! There’s so many talented people ready to do good things (I see a parallel in politics – go Chlöe Swarbrick!). It’s about perspective, representation and the future. Existing collections and knowledge are approached differently and creatively by us. We can communicate and engage with the wider young generation meaningfully. And with the guidance of senior colleagues and mentors who hold so much knowledge, emerging museum professionals can develop into the leaders and experts of the future.
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
The mana of taonga is important to me. I see it as a privilege and responsibility of profound importance as a kaitiaki of the Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. Museums and museology are constantly changing and as it does, for me, we need to keep in mind our treasures and make sure that they are physically protected but also that their significance, what they represent is well understood, and that their mana is maintained and enhanced.
What is your karaoke song?
I try to forget most karaoke nights.