Practice Leaders 

Te Papa's Practice Leaders are senior specialists who provide thought leadership across a range of practices essential to the achievement of our goals. Practice leaders are responsible for the development and dissemination of their practice, and for facilitating its implementation into Te Papa’s programmes and operations.  The five practice areas are: 

  • Research
  • Organisation Development / Leading Leaders
  • Visitor Learning & Audience Advocacy
  • Digital Futures
  • Mana Taonga

Practice Leader Research – Dame Claudia Orange

Claudia began her current position at Te Papa in 2013. She previously held the positions of Director of History and Pacific Cultures, and Collections and Research Group Director at the Museum.

Before coming to Te Papa, Claudia was General Editor of the multi-volume Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (1990–2003). She oversaw the Dictionary’s move online in 2002. During this period, Claudia also served as Acting Chief Historian at the Department of Internal Affairs (1997–2000).

Claudia has received various honours. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1993. She received University of Auckland’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. In 2009, she became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM).

Claudia has published widely on New Zealand history, particularly race relations and the Treaty of Waitangi. New editions of The Treaty of Waitangi (2011) and The Story of a Treaty (2013) are among her more recent publications.

Dame Claudia Orange

Practice Leader Organisation Development / Leading Leaders (vacant)


Practice Leader Visitor Learning & Audience Advocacy – Dr Edy MacDonald

Edy is responsible for leading and advising on the programmes and activities that engage with Te Papa’s different audiences and facilitate learning. One of her key goals is to develop experiences that have a transformative experience on the visitor and encourage them to reflect and act on their experience at Te Papa long after their visit.

Edy’s areas of expertise are interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on learning and behaviour. Prior to joining Te Papa, she was the Group Manager Visitor Learning at Wellington Zoo, where she developed and implemented a citizen science programme, Bush Builders, which was awarded DOC’s 2008 Wellington Conservancy Advocacy award.  

Before moving to New Zealand in 2005, Edy’s work took her all over the globe to address conservation issues for the San Diego Zoo. As a member of the multiagency team, she was responsible for up skilling and empowering local researchers in different methodologies and interpreting data to make better management decisions. Edy has also served as the Director of Education and Research at the Carolina Raptor Center, where she developed education programs in collaboration with the art museum and photography museum.

 Edith MacDonald

Practice Leader Digital Futures (vacant)


Practice Leader Mana Taonga (vacant)