Auckland Museum is temporarily closed

Auckland Museum is closed to visitors until further notice, in step with our country's efforts to limit the transmission of Covid-19. Our website remains open for you to browse. Visit Auckland Museum At Home.

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.

Megan McSweeney
Director Marketing, Communications and External Affairs


To enable the Museum to deliver the ambitious goals outlined in the Five-Year Strategic Plan and to ensure we are ready for the next stage of our longer-term transformation, Megan leads a team responsible for understanding and reaching out to our visitors, communities and stakeholders to share our unique stories.      

With an extensive background in marketing and communications, Megan has held senior executive positions in a number of New Zealand's major companies including SkyCity Entertainment Group and NZ Bus (Infratil). Having worked across a diverse range of customer facing industries including tourism, utilities, education, entertainment and logistics, Megan brings to Auckland Museum expertise in marketing, brand, communications, operations and customer experience.

She is Deputy Chair of CINZ (Conferences & Incentives New Zealand) and holds a board position on ARAFB (Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board). Megan was also a board member for Tourism Industry Aotearoa for six years.

Megan has a Bachelor of Arts from Auckland University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business from Auckland University's Business School.  

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.

Dion Peita 

(Ngāti Tipa, Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, Te Rārawa)
Tumuaki of Māori and Pacific Development


Dion has been employed at the Museum since 2015 in the role of Head of Collection Care and is a seasoned museum professional having worked in museums in NZ and Australia for his whole career.  Developing our own leaders is a key component of our strategic workforce development approach at Tāmaki Paenga Hira and so I am particularly delighted to see one of our own Museum leaders joining the Executive Team. 

In addition to his leadership experience as a Head of Department and his extensive collections expertise, Dion holds a number of academic qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Māori Studies, Certificate in Te Arataki Manu Kōrero and a Post Graduate Diploma in Māori Business Development.  He is a museum professional with a wealth of leadership experience and a track record of engagement with iwi, hapū, and whānau stakeholders, and with Pacific Islands communities and young people.  He is well-placed to support the strengthening of He Korahi Māori and Teu Le Vā within the Museum and to enrich linkages with community leaders, building confidence in the effectiveness of the Museum as an engaging and collaborative partner with Māori and Pacific communities. 


Auckland Museum Trust Board

The following people are involved in the governance of Auckland War Memorial Museum:


Orchid Atimalala



Orchid Atimalala has an extensive background working with local government organisations including the North Shore City Council and Auckland Regional Council. She has a Bachelor of Planning degree and is a full member of the New Zealand Planning Institute as well as being a Certified Independent Hearings Commissioner. Orchid works for two independent consultancies and specialises in community and stakeholder consultation as well as relationship management with local and central government. She has held positions on a number of boards including being deputy chair of the Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel and a member of the In2it Youth Development Trust Board. Orchid is a fluent speaker of Sāmoan and a mentor for the Beatrice Faumuina Leadership Trust.

Professor Richard Bedford CNZM


Professor Bedford QSO, FRSNZ, CNZM has had a distinguished academic career for which he holds titles as Emeritus Professor at the University of Waikato and the Auckland University of Technology.  He has recently completed a three-year term as of President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. 

With wide-ranging experience chairing national governance groups and funding assessment panels, Professor Bedford's expertise will enhance the Board's connections with the tertiary research sector and new research funding streams.

Rachael Tuwhangai


Rachael is a descendant of the Tainui Waka and of Ngāti Maniapoto. She is Co-Director of MAPSS (Māori and Pasifika Support Services) which focuses on the intersection between indigenous people’s and improving social outcomes.  She is a former academic of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education;  Education Manager of the Auckland South Corrections Facility, and a former Secondary School Teacher. 

Rachael’s recent governance experience includes the Boards of Education New Zealand, The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Manukau Institute of Technology, Voyce: Whakarongo mai, Variety Children’s Charity, Man Alive Charitable Trust, Auckland Community Law Centre and COMET Auckland.

Martin Mariassouce


He honore he kororia ki te Atua, he maungarongo ki te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa. Tamaki Paenga Hira is a repository of knowledge, endeavour and the industry of people. It provides insights to the past, stands in the present, and offers pathways to the future. Martin Mariassouce was chairperson of the museum's Māori advisory committee, the Taumata-ā-Iwi, from 2007 to 2013. In October 2013 he joined the Trust Board as the Taumata's representative. As an avid student of 'te reo me ona tikanga' he contributes keenly to the Māori dimension established in the museum’s bicultural and 'He Kōrahi Māori' foundation adding value to museum practice. Martin currently works with Māori micro-enterprises and small businesses to increase productivity and business capability.

Karen Avery


Karen Avery has been involved with not-for-profit community organisations in a variety of roles for over 30 years. She has served on the boards of a wide range of these organisations, the most recent being Second Nature Charitable Trust, which owns and operates the Vodafone Events Centre and Wero Whitewater Park in Manukau.

Karen’s background is in management and finance primarily in the advertising and book publishing industries. She is also a Justice of the Peace.

Mark Binns


Mark Binns is an experienced Director and former Chief Executive, with a background in construction, property development and asset management. 

Mr Binns served as Chief Executive of Meridian Energy for five years, during which time he was responsible for major strategic reviews, and the launch of New Zealand’s largest Initial Public Offering.

Prior to this, Mr Binns career spanned 22 years in both Fletcher Building and Fletcher Challenge, where he was responsible for operations in New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia, India, South America, the United States and the South Pacific. 

Mr Binns joined the Auckland Museum Trust Board in 2018 and holds the role of Chairperson for the Future Museum Capital Programme Committee.

Rick Carlyon

Rick Carlyon is well experienced in governance of the Arts sector in Auckland. He is a trustee of the Auckland Arts Festival and has chaired its finance committee since 2008. He has also held the position of chair of the Silo Theatre Trust for the past ten years.

Rick has a strong professional network with several arts funding organisations including The Auckland Council, Creative NZ, ARAFA funding board and various other funding bodies. He also has had considerable experience in private sector funding for arts organisations.

John Judge

John Judge holds a number of director and trustee positions for private companies and trusts. He is the Chairman of Biotelliga Limited, Hydraulink Group and the Auckland Arts Festival Trust.

He has previously held the position of Chairman at ACC, ANZ Bank, Auckland Art Gallery Foundation and the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

John’s governance experience is underpinned by his commercial and strategic acumen as a former partner and Chief Executive of Ernst & Young New Zealand (EY).

Ben Palmer


Ben holds governance roles in a range of not-for-profit and for-profit organisations. He currently serves as a member of the Risk and Audit Committee for The Treasury Te Tai Ōhanga, as well as a co-opted member of the Audit and Risk Committee for Foundation North. Ben is also chair of SPCA Trust and a long-time trustee of the Melanesian Mission Trust Board. He previously served as Chair of Mercy Breast Clinic Limited and Lifeline Aotearoa. Ben retired from Ernst & Young in 2011 after a career of 35 years. He has been involved at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum in the past both as a Trust Board member and as a co-opted member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Penelope (Penny) Hulse MZNZ


Penny has over 27 years of experience in local government around the wider Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland region. She served on Waitakere City Council 1992-2010, holding the position of Deputy Mayor from 2007-2010. With the amalgamation of the Super City in 2010, she was appointed as Deputy Mayor of Auckland Council from 2010-2016 as well as chairing the Auckland Development Committee.  She then chaired the Community and Environment committee with responsibility for a wide range of operational aspects of Council, before stepping down in 2019.  Penny is currently a board member at Kāinga Ora, New Zealand Conservation Authority, Link People and is an elected member of the Waitakere Licensing trust.  She also maintains strong links with her community and holds a number of community related roles including Chair of the Waitakere Anti Violence Essential Services (WAVES) Trust and Patron of the Waitakere Ethnic Board, WALSH Trust and Community Waitakere.