Executive Team and Trust Board
Executive management team
Dr David Gaimster - Director
David Gaimster is an experienced museum director and academic with extensive knowledge in the museum and cultural heritage sectors. His career spans more than 25 years in senior roles in national museums, most recently as Director of The Hunterian, Scotland’s largest university museum service 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 medieval to early modern European archaeology and material culture, museology and on international cultural property policy. He also has experience leading major capital projects in London and Glasgow.
Megan McSweeney – Director Business, External Affairs and Tourism
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 education, tourism, utilities, entertainment and logistics, Megan brings to Auckland Museum expertise in marketing, brand, customer experience and communications. Megan has a BA from Auckland University and a post graduate diploma in business from Auckland University's Business School. She is on the board of the Tourism Industry Association of NZ. Megan McSweeney joined Auckland Museum in 2011
Linnae Pohatu – Tumuaki Director, Māori Projects and Development
Linnae Pohatu joined the Museum in the newly created role of Tumuaki Director, a position designed to enhance the Museum's relationships with Māori and to help extend the range of services the Museum offers to the public.
Linnae's background includes working within the Government as a Parliamentary Officer in the House of Representatives, as Private Secretary to the minister in charge of Treaty Settlements and an Analyst in Policy and Negotiations for Treaty Settlements. Following her time in Government, Linnae spent three years at Te Papa Tongarewa as their Bicultural Policy Analyst. Linnae graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Māori Studies, followed by an Honours degree.
David Reeves – Director Collections and Research
David Reeves 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 a particular 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
Auckland Museum Director of Finance and Enterprise, Jignasha Patel 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 is a Board trustee for COMET, an Auckland Council CCO focussed on advancing education for Auckland. She also holds a number of governance roles with organisations such as ServiceIQ and National Council of Women New Zealand.
Originally from Fiji, Jignasha has lived in New Zealand for the past 35 years.
Brad Clark - Director of Transformation and Development
As Director of Transformation and Development, Brad Clark leads a portfolio aimed at transforming the Museum through new investment in the visitor experience, research, learning and digital engagement.
Brad has demonstrated success in the transformation and development fields, where he has more than 15 years’ experience. Prior to joining the Museum, Brad was Chief Executive of Starship Foundation, where he led a team to raise funds for several multi-million dollar capital projects.
In this new role, Brad will help grow revenue and build funding streams for the Museum’s capital and building projects, with a view to promoting the Museum to new and bigger audiences.
Brad is passionate about bringing together business and the community to deliver transformational change for New Zealand – an approach that is reflected strongly in the Museum’s vision for a vibrant and world-renowned Auckland cultural sector.
Brad is Canadian by birth and has been a proud Kiwi for more than 25 years.
Catherine Smith – Director People and Organisation
Catherine brings wide-ranging experience to Auckland Museum having had a career in social work, operational management and more than 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. She has particular strengths in leadership and workforce development, employee relations and talent management.
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. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business, a Master's Degree in Human Resources and Organisational Development and has won several academic excellence awards for her post graduate studies. Catherine has held the role of Director People and Organisation since June 2016.
Tim Hart - Director Public 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.
Auckland Museum Trust Board
The following people are involved in the governance of Auckland War Memorial Museum:
Orchid Atimalala - Chair
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.
Tarun Kanji - Deputy Chair
Tarun Kanji has 25 years corporate and consulting experience internationally and in New Zealand comprising time spent with international accounting firms spanning corporate advisory, valuation, finance, litigation support, and recovery and audit disciplines. He currently holds two publically listed company directorships and a range of private and public sector governance roles and was chairman of Bank of India in New Zealand.
Mr Kanji is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand as well as a member of the NZ Institute of Directors and NZ Asian Leaders.
Professor Richard Bedford
Professor Bedford QSO, FRSNZ 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.
Jo Brosnahan QSO
Jo Brosnahan is presently Chair of Hunter Downs Development Company and Northpower Fibre and was the founding Chair of Leadership New Zealand. She was the CEO of the former Auckland Regional Council from 1996 till 2004. In 1995-96 she received a Harkness Fellowship in Leadership to study at Duke University in the USA and is also a Commander of the Queens Service Order (QSO).
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.
Dr Sarah Sandley
Dr Sarah Sandley serves as Advisory Chair for the Katherine Mansfield Society, and is on the Auckland Branch Committee of the Institute of Directors. She is a former Chair of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival Trust, and was previously CEO of APN Magazine Group. Sarah holds a PHD in English Literature on the work of New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield.
Sir Pita Sharples KNZM CBE
Sir Pita Sharples is a respected Māori academic and politician, who was a co-leader of the Māori Party, and a minister outside Cabinet in the National Party-led government. Pita has a doctorate in Anthropology/Linguistics and was formerly a Professor of Education at The University of Auckland. Pita is of Ngāti Kahungunu decent, and his father a second generation New Zealander whose family came from Bolton, United Kingdom.
In 1990 Pita was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday list of honours for his services to Māori and has been recognised for his involvement in a great number of initiatives aimed at Māori development. In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours he was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services as a Member of Parliament and to Māori.
Jo-anne Wilkinson MNZM
Jo-anne Wilkinson is the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Foundation for Youth Development (formerly Project K Trust). The organisation began in 1995 and has grown today to reach 20,000 young people each year through its programmes - Project K, Stars, Kiwi Can, Career Navigator and MYND. Jo-anne remains on the FYD board. With her legal background and through building FYD Jo-anne has gained experience in licensing, research and evaluation, community development, programme development, quality assurance, organisational change, governance and the interface between government, business and the social sector.
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 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.