Wellington Scoop

Applications close on Friday for the “visionary” top job at Te Papa

Applications close next Friday for the position of chief executive at Te Papa the national museum. The job is being advertised by Jackson Stone and Partners, who state that the position requires a “visionary leader.”

Here is how the top job is described in the Jackson Stone advertisement:

Te Papa’s mission is to understand the past, enrich the present and meet the challenges of the future – it is more than just the national museum that houses Aotearoa New Zealand’s treasures. It is a meeting place, a place for lifelong learning, and a place that inspires a sense of wonder and connection. Biculturalism is a founding philosophy and practice of Te Papa.

Together, the Chief Executive and the Kaihautū lead Te Papa. The Chief Executive is a visionary leader who can create and sustain a clear and compelling picture of future museology and knows how to bring people along with them. They connect, lead and inspire the Te Papa team. Building trust with the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) and wider cultural sector, the science sector, with iwi across the country, and with the diverse communities Te Papa serves is a central focus of the role. Leading with heart and the commercial acumen to make decisions that keep Te Papa at the forefront of innovation in the contemporary global museum context is a focus too.

We are searching for someone with a strong connectedness to and understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand culture and history, appreciation of mātauranga Māori and the Treaty and its application in a current context. You will be biculturally competent and have a good appreciation of Pasifika and multi-culturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. With a clear understanding of what it means to be a contemporary museum in an increasing complex and diverse society, your appreciation of the role of scientific research in contemporary museology will be a strength. You will have a reputation for keeping people informed, building a cohesive team, driving commercial profitability and being an expert relationship and stakeholder manager.

Applications close on Friday, 15 November.

Apply or view the position description.


  1. Ferdinand Hendriks, 10. November 2019, 6:55

    The last sentence really exposes the truth, that makes all of the necessary qualities stated earlier on redundant.
    A bit like what city councillors promise and what they actually do/deliver.

  2. Traveller, 10. November 2019, 8:45

    My hope is that this time they find a New Zealander for the job. We have long passed the era of believing that experts from overseas can somehow do things better.

  3. TrevorH, 10. November 2019, 8:49

    You certainly need a lot of “vision” to spend any time in Te Papa. Its exhibits are more like an amusement park than a museum. A temple of politically correct inanities looking for a new high priest?

  4. Victor008, 13. November 2019, 5:11

    Agreed – let’s find a New Zealander who can lead and help define what and who our culture is and the way we want to communicate it to our peoples and the world. Our global presence is profound and our museum needs to promote and reflect.

  5. Counter-Culture, 13. November 2019, 8:58

    Why ask someone else to define NZ culture? I don’t want a high priest to tell me who I am. That is each individual’s ultimate discovery.