Jo Brookbanks

Public Programme Content Specialist

Jo Brookbanks

Jo started with Auckland Museum in 2000 as an administrative secretary and quickly demonstrated her passion for enhancing the customer experience. Today she's responsible for developing and delivering events and programmes for families. If you visit a special exhibition, come to the Museum in the school holidays or visit during cultural festivals, you are likely to encounter one of Jo's fun, exciting and educational programmes. She's also involved with delivering off-site Museum programmes.

"I was attracted to working at Auckland Museum because I love the building, but what lies within has proved much more rewarding than I anticipated. Working at the museum is inspiring, challenging and never boring - there are so many stories to share with our visitors.  As a bonus, the people I get to work with are precious and fascinating specimens themselves!"

Suliana Jacobsen
Security, Health & Safety

Safety & Security Officer

Suliana Jacobsen

Initially recruited as a Textile Cataloguing Assistant in 2004, Suliana is now a member of the Museum’s in-house security team. The Museum houses many valuable and priceless taonga and hosts many VIP guests, so security officers play a vital role around the clock. Every day Suliana liaises with the public, contractors, volunteers and Museum staff.  On top of that, she has to monitor and maintain state-of-the-art security systems and technology.

“When I was young I vowed to never to work in a cubicle. I came to the Museum while studying at university, as a volunteer. Lo and behold that was almost 10 years ago.  Reasons why I love working here? There are many: I enjoy the diversity of its employees, from scientist, artist to builder and accountant; I enjoy working inside such an iconic building; and, most of all, I love the interesting experiences that occur in this place, such as war memorials, gallery events, VIP visitors and fire alarms!”

Tom Trnski
Natural Sciences

Head of Natural Sciences

Tom Trnski

When it comes to marine biology, Tom is world famous in New Zealand.  He grew up at the beach and spent his earliest summers exploring rock pools.  Once he learned how to snorkel, his interest in marine life knew no bounds. As Head of Natural Sciences, Tom leads the development, documentation, research and public access of all the Museum’s natural science collections.  He has written books, published scientific papers and led many surveys of fishes throughout the Pacific.

“I first came to the Museum in 2007 for the role of marine curator. It was a great opportunity to explore the waters around northern New Zealand. I now manage the Natural Sciences team, but what keeps me passionate about my job is the occasional opportunity to continue to make discoveries of marine life in the region and to communicate the excitement that I feel about the marine environment.”

Larry Nimalota

Pou Herenga Manager

Larry Nimalota

Larry started his career as a visitor host where he provided a warm experience for our manuhiri,.  

"This fale is home for me, and so when you have visitors come to your fale you want to make sure they feel comfortable and when they leave you want them to come back to visit again," he says. 

 Larry has also served as a Community Facilitator for the Pacific Collections Access Project (PCAP), that aimed to reconnect Pacific Communities with their taonga and improve our knowledge and understanding of these collections.   

During this project he discovered that his own mother held cultural knowledge about his favourite Measina.  

"As long I’ve worked here I've always looked at the Le Sina and wondered how my ancestors made this. 

It wasn’t until I worked in the PCAP project that I discovered my mother knew all about the Le Sina. Just like that she talked about it like it was a normal thing whilst growing up in Samoa. The ‘’’Le Sina’’ is even more special to me now. 

That's the unique thing about working at the Museum, you are always learning something new.  

Larry has had a long fulfilling career at the Museum and he has recently moved into a new role as a Pou Herenga Manager in our exhibitions team.   

Natasha Colhoun

Senior Manager

Natasha Colhoun

After many years in the travel and tourism industry Natasha was initially attracted to working at the Museum because of its status as a leading tourist attraction and iconic venue. However it is the alignment of her personal vision and ethos with that of the Museum’s that inspires her every day . 

"The Museum prioritises the wellbeing of its people and celebrates inclusivity and diversity so that all members of the Museum whānau feel respected and their voices heard."  

In her role Natasha has developed the Museum's tourism and events strategy and related products.  

"The best thing about my role is seeing the light in a tourist's eye when they connect with an artefact, or an event client when they see our venues transform into the function of their dreams. It's such a great feeling!" 

Parai Parai

Visitor Host

Parai Parai

Being surrounded by beautiful taonga, and being part of a team who can share them with every visitor that comes into the museum is what Parai loves about his role as a Visitor Host.  

During his time at the Museum Parai took part in on the job accreditation and achieved a New Zealand Certificate in Tourism (Visitor Experience) – Level 3. He was also recognised for his outstanding Customer Service with a ServiceIQ Ambassador Award.  

His Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Diploma in Dance and Drama have proven very useful. He often gets involved in the ‘Night at the Museum’ events where he’s put his acting talents to work in various roles including as a paleontologist! 

"There is such a variety of things that you can get involved with here at the Museum, every day is different."