Dr David Gaimster
Chief Executive 

As Chief Executive David leads on the strategic direction of the Museum ensuring our ongoing relevance, building our capacity as a place of learning and engagement and cementing our status as a leader in the cultural sector.

David is an experienced museum director and academic with extensive knowledge in the museum and cultural heritage economy. His career spans more than 30 years in senior roles in museums and cultural heritage organisations, most recently as Director of The Hunterian, one of the UK’s largest university museum services and the oldest museum in Scotland.

He has also worked in central government policy making on cultural property, and as the CEO of a national Learned Society and conservation charity.
He has organised several major exhibitions that have toured internationally, and has published extensively on historical European archaeology and material culture, museology and on international cultural property policy. He also has experience leading major capital projects in London and Glasgow. 

In 2019 Dr Gaimster was appointed Hon Adjunct Professor in Museum and Cultural Heritage at the University of Auckland.

You can read updates from David on From the Chief Executive page here

David Reeves 
Director Collections and Research

David leads the team of curators, collection managers, conservators, librarians and other specialists who contribute their expertise across the wide range of disciplines and subjects represented in the collections.  

Together, they are responsible for the acquisition, care, documentation and research of the 4.7 million taonga we hold in our collections as well as facilitating access to collections and knowledge through numerous channels online and in person.

David joined the Museum in January 2011 after a time at the Alexander Turnbull Library as Associate Chief Librarian, Research Access. David's career also includes roles at the Auckland Art Gallery and at Te Papa managing logistics, storage and documentation of collections.

David brings a range of perspectives on the activities of libraries, museums, galleries and archives, with an interest in how they are responding to and utilising the digital environment. 

David is also experienced in Museum building design and has been involved in a number of building re-developments and collection relocation projects. He holds a Bachelor of Building Science from Victoria University of Wellington and Diplomas in Professional Photography and Museum Studies.

Jignasha Patel
Director of Finance and Enterprise


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 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 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.