David Reeves

Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive

David Reeves

Effective 1 September 2023, David Reeves is our new Tumu Whakaere Chief Executive. David has been the Director of Collections and Research at Auckland Museum since 2011, a role in which he has led transformational change in the Museum’s curatorial, collections and conservation practices. As a member of the Museum’s executive team, he has led innovative digital collection access projects, contributed to major building projects and been a driving force behind a number of meaningful cultural developments.

Reeves was raised in the small Manawatu settlement of Aokautere and attended Awatapu College. He studied Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington and Professional Photography and Museum Studies at Massey University. With a career spanning more than 35 years, Reeves has extensive experience across Aotearoa’s cultural sector and has held senior roles at major institutions including the Alexander Turnbull Library, Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

His current professional affiliations and Board appointments include his role as trustee and Deputy Chair of UNESCO Memory of the World NZ committee and Board member of Museums Aotearoa, the national membership and advocacy body for the museum sector, trust advisor of the Rule Foundation, a philanthropic charity supporting rainbow communities, and past co-Chair of GALS, Auckland’s rainbow choir.

Reeves brings fresh perspectives on the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) sector to the Chief Executive role, alongside a keen interest in how the sector is responding to and utilising the digital environment. He is a strong believer in working proactively and collaboratively with allied organisations to achieve the Museum’s aims in advancing understandings about our social and natural worlds. Reeves is also focused on strengthening the Museum’s bicultural approach to its work and engagement with communities.

Previously in his career, Reeves has been a member and Chair of the Library and Information Advisory Commission, and member and Deputy Chair of the Archives Council. He is a past Council member of the Australasian Registrars’ Committee, the professional body of museum registrars and collection managers in Australia and New Zealand, where he led the revision of the constitution to formally include Aotearoa. Prior to this, he sat on the National Digital Forum Steering Committee, Museum Qualifications Working Group, NZ Registrars’ Network, and was a trustee of the Thorndon Trust and Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand.

Vasiti Palavi is currently Acting Director, Collections & Research - the role David Reeves held before becoming Tumu Whakaere Chief Executive.

Jignasha Patel

Director Finance and Enterprise

Jignasha Patel

Jignasha is responsible for implementing strategies to drive revenue and business growth and translating financial complexity into business information to drive commercial results.

She is an experienced leader in the fields of commercial development and financial management capability. Jignasha has a track record of achievement as a leader in the corporate and consulting world, having headed up nationally significant projects as General Manager of Air New Zealand Aviation Institute and Air New Zealand Cargo.

She is a strong advocate for driving sustainable business and societal change through focusing on commercial and operational excellence, enhanced customer experiences and a culture of high-performance engagement.

Jignasha also holds a number of governance roles with other organisations. She is a Director for NZ Post and a Board trustee for COMET, an Auckland Council CCO focused on advancing education for Auckland. Originally from Fiji, Jignasha has lived in New Zealand for the past 35 years. 

Tim Hart

Director Public Experience

Tim Hart

Tim leads the development of our exhibition and public programmes ensuring we provide a world class experience that makes technology an integral part of the Museum experience.      

Tim was Director of Public Engagement at Museums Victoria for six years before joining Auckland Museum in 2017 as Director, Public Experience. He holds a degree in Architecture and Archaeology and has 29 years’ experience in museums, including in collection management, policy development, information technology and multimedia development.

Tim’s previous roles include National Project Manager of Australian Museums On Line, and Chief Information Officer at Australia’s Powerhouse Museum and he has been an active member of Museums Australia for the last 20 years. 

Tim is passionate about the positive role technology can play in driving change and innovation in museums. He believes it will re-shape our museums and redefine their role within the community.

Catherine Smith

Director People and Organisation

Catherine Smith

Catherine is kaitiaki of our people and our unique Tāmaki Paenga Hira culture. She is responsible for health, safety and security, visitor services and volunteers and is the executive lead for the Museum’s diversity and inclusion culture.  

Catherine brings wide-ranging experience to Auckland Museum with a background in social work, operational management and well over a decade in Human Resources and organisational development roles. She is committed to creating a sustainable, high performance workplace where people experience enriching work and are inspired to innovate. 

Before coming to the Museum, Catherine was the Human Resources lead for the NZ Human Rights Commission and held the Workforce and Leadership Capability portfolio at Ko Awatea, Counties Manukau District Health Board. 

Catherine is a trained coach and Independent Workplace Investigator. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business, a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organisational Development and has won several academic excellence awards for her postgraduate studies. Catherine has held the role of Director People and Organisation since June 2016.

Te Arepa Morehu

Tumuaki Māori

Te Arepa Morehu

Ka tū a Te Arepa ki te tihi o tōna maunga, ko Maungakiekie. Ka māhoi tana titiro ki te Waitematā e pari ana ki tōna whenua, ki Tāmaki Makaurau, te nohoanga o ōna Tūpuna.

E arahina ana te whare pupuri taonga nei e Te Arepa i te ao Māori. Ko tōna aronga nui kia piki ake tō Tāmaki Paenga Hira taha Māori, kia heru hāpaitia te reo Māori, ngā tikanga Māori, ngā mātauranga Māori.

Te Arepa leads the delivery of strategic Māori projects, activities and outcomes at the Museum. His focus is to grow Māori aspects within Tāmaki Paenga Hira including the Māori language, Māori protocols and Māori knowledge.

Te Arepa is a descendant from Te Taitokerau and from Ireland, where his whakapapa has provided an avenue to connect his Māori and pākeha sides. He brings his many experiences from his background in IT, in banking, in the cultural sector, leading out Māori initiatives.

Te Arepa is extremely passionate about te ao Māori and is focussed on being a voice for hapori and the taonga of his tūpuna within Tāmaki Paenga Hira.