From our Formation columnist, Jess Aitken: During my time in the sector so far I really have been spoilt in meeting some incredible and inspirational women. Rowan offered me my first proper collections project at the Police Museum and I returned for more during my first year placement. As a student it is so valuable to see the theory we talk about in class being put into real-life practice and projects like the repatriation of kōiwi tangata from the NZ Police Museum Collection and the acquisition of the Partington Collection in Whanganui help to show that these things do not belong in the too hard basket. For me, Rowan has been the definition of a tuakana: offering words of encouragement and support, helping me trust in my abilities and just being one of those ridiculously clever, cool and articulate people you are eternally grateful to have met.
Rowan Carroll, director New Zealand Police Museum
In five words, describe your role in the sector.
Boundary-pusher, provocateur, protector, communicator, nurturer
What is it about the sector that you love?
I love being part of the New Zealand museum sector, after exposure to what is happening (or not happening) in museums in Europe and the Arabian states I see that we are leading the way ethically, bi-culturally, educationally and in the quality of our public programmes.
What have been some challenges in your career?
I have felt extreme frustration working for local government under the governance of local body politicians whose only goal is to be re-elected for not raising rates or spending capital funds. They seem to have no understanding of a lasting legacy for future generations.
What challenges can you see in the future?
Repatriation of the cultural property of other indigenous nations currently held in New Zealand museums.
What do you think people in the early stages of their careers can offer the sector?
Fresh eyes are hugely valuable. I think it is the responsibility of everyone who manages new staff to let them speak, and to listen to their views and observations. I really hope the emerging professions have a voice in the work place. It is how we change the world!
What is your spirit animal?
As a leo born in the year of the tiger it should be a feline I guess, but in reality I am not a cat lover. I should pretend my spirit animal is a noble beast but I really think it is a bear because at the moment I would love to hibernate for the winter.