Volunteer stories


Our volunteers range from 18 to their 80s and come from a wide range of backgrounds. The one thing they all have in common is a deep love for the Museum and a willingness to contribute their time, skills and enthusiasm. Read their stories.

Thomas Stolberger, Natural Sciences Volunteer

Thomas Stolberger, loves all things ancient, so volunteering at the Museum was a natural choice. Each week for two hours, Thomas looks at all number of fossilized shells and re-houses them.  He says that the oldest fossil he’s held was about 20 million years old something that requires a steady hand and delicate handling. “I like working with things that are relevant to my studies.  You can’t call it work if you’re passionate
about it.”

Sichan Qi, Mandarin-speaking Volunteer Guide

Sichan Qi is one our incredibly talented volunteer guides that take groups of Mandarin-speaking visitors throughout the Museum, so we tracked her down to talk about volunteer life for #volunteerweek. “Chinese visitors often want to know about the history and what life is like in New Zealand and the culture so I help them to make those connections. The waka is of great interest to these groups because it looks quite similar to our dragon boat, so it usually generates lively discussions.”  The 28 year old student came to the Museum after arriving from Beijing two years ago with a keen desire to learn more about her new homeland, so she is incredibly proud to teach others about NZ’s history.

Julie Cohen, Volunteer Guide

Our volunteer visitor guide, Julie Cohen, is a font of knowledge after having immersed herself in Museum life for the past six years, first as a library volunteer and later as a guide. She says she delights in turning around a quick trip to the Museum into an experience that leaves people amazed.  “For me, it is particularly rewarding when they come away informed, entertained and with a headful of thought-provoking questions knocking around their brain.” Julie says it is a privilege to be able to tell visitors about the events, places and people behind the artefacts and help bring Auckland’s history to life.