Our curators
Ngā ringaraupī

Meet our Te Papa curators.

On this page:
Art
History
Pacific Cultures
Taonga Māori
Natural History
Researchers
Enquiries

Art

Charlotte Davy
Head of Art

Charlotte Davy

Charlotte’s expertise is in creative direction and facilitation, arts strategy, and exhibition programming and development. Through facilitating international exhibitions she has also developed expertise in museum ethics and law, particularly relating to the ownership, loan, and display of art. Charlotte has broader interests in museum architecture and spatial design.     

Sarah Farrar
Senior Curator Art

Sarah Farrar

Sarah's personal area of expertise is in contemporary art (both New Zealand and international art). She has a particular interest in examining exhibition histories and the social reception of contemporary art. Her current research projects include examining historical and contemporary approaches to art collection displays, and exploring innovative approaches to art education and interpretation.

Athol McCredie
Curator Photography

Athol McCredie

Athol’s expertise is in New Zealand photography, particularly 1940 to the present. Current research includes the history of the museum’s photography collection, the photographs of Māori and their treatment by the museum, and the personal documentary photography of the 1960s and 1970s.

Chelsea Nichols
Curator Modern Art

Chelsea Nichols

Chelsea is an art historian whose collection-based research focuses on the relationships between international and New Zealand modern art from 1900–1970. Her particular area of expertise is in portrayals of the curious, macabre and monstrous, and her doctoral thesis examined representations of so-called 'human curiosities' in international contemporary art. Current areas of research include the relationship between art and medicine in the 20th century, the influence of Surrealism on New Zealand art, and the body in modern visual culture. 

Justine Olsen
Curator Decorative Art & Design

Justine Olsen

Justine Olsen’s expertise lies in decorative arts and design, with particular reference to New Zealand, both historical and contemporary. Current research includes New Zealand’s contribution to modernism and to the arts and crafts movement.

Lissa Mitchell
Curator Historical Documentary Photography

Lissa Mitchell

Lissa is an art historian whose main research is photography of the colonial period and how it relates to the present day. Specific research areas include the depiction of children in historical photography, crime in colonial photography, early women photographers and photographic histories in the country’s southern region.

Mark Stocker
Curator Historical International Art

Dr Mark Stocker

Mark is an art historian whose research is in late 18th to early-mid 20th century art, particularly British and New Zealand art and especially sculpture, public monuments and numismatics (coins and medals). He has a broader interest in Victorian and Edwardian art and Art Deco. His current research includes Queen Victoria statuary in New Zealand, the sculpture of Kathleen Scott (widow of Scott of the Antarctic) and New Zealand's coinage.

Megan Tamati-Quennell
Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori & Indigenous Art

Megan Tamati-Quennell

Megan has specialist interests in the work of the post war (1945) first generation Māori artists, Mana wahine; Māori women artists of the 1970s and 1980s, the ‘Māori Internationals’; the artists who developed with the advent of biculturalism, a postmodern construct peculiar to New Zealand and global Indigenous art with particular focus on modern and contemporary Indigenous art in Australia, Canada and the United States.
Iwi affiliation: Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu

Rebecca Rice
Curator Historical New Zealand Art

Rebecca Rice

Rebecca is an art historian who specialises in New Zealand’s colonial art. She is interested in New Zealand's representation at international exhibitions, particularly through the displays of fine art, photography and ethnographic artefacts, as well as how artists used these exhibitions to promote their own practice. Current research includes the art produced during the New Zealand Wars of the nineteenth century, and the impact of impressionism on New   Zealand artists at home and abroad.

History

Dr. Bronwyn Labrum
Head of New Zealand and Pacific Cultures

Bronwyn Labrum

Bronwyn Labrum is widely published in the social and cultural history of New Zealand and the history of clothing and fashion, museums, collecting and exhibitions, and designed objects and artefacts. She has lengthy experience in research management and the practice of public history. Bronwyn is the author of Real Modern: Everyday New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s (Te Papa Press), shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Books Awards in 2016.
Publications – Google Scholar

Claire Regnault
Senior Curator New Zealand History & Culture

Claire Regnault

Claire's research interests lie primarily in New Zealand's fashion history and associated industries, including textile design, retail, marketing, publishing and photography, and 20th century and contemporary craft, in particular studio jewellery. Current research includes Te Papa’s 19th century dress collection, and the changing relationship between nature and clothing.

Kirstie Ross
Curator Modern New Zealand

Kirstie Ross

Kirstie’s area of expertise is the social and cultural history of New Zealand, especially the 20th century. She is currently researching the material culture of the New Zealand home front during the First World War as well as other aspects of the war. A personal research interest focuses on environmental history.

Lynette Townsend
Curator History - Communities & Diversity

Lynette Townsend

Lynette’s research interest is in New Zealand’s cultural and social diversity. Exhibition-based research has focused on the Italians and Scots in New Zealand, as well as 20th century New Zealand youth and Air New Zealand. Current research explores the personal stories and history associated with the material culture of childhood.

Stephanie Gibson
Curator Contemporary Life & Culture

Stephanie Gibson

Stephanie is researching the material and visual culture of protest, conflict and reform, as well as everyday life in AotearoaAotearoa New Zealand. Her continuing museological research focuses on museums and community participation.

Pacific Cultures

Nina Tonga
C
urator Pacific Cultures

Nina Tonga

Nina is an art historian who specialises in Pacific art. Her current research focuses on contemporary Pacific art in New Zealand and in the Pacific, with a particular interest in internet art from 2000 to the present.

Sean Mallon
Senior Curator Pacific Cultures

Sean Mallon

Sean Mallon specialises in the social and cultural history of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. He is currently researching the cultural history of Samoan tattooing, and issues relating to the agency and activism of Pacific peoples in museums.
Publications – Google Scholar

Taonga Māori

Puawai Cairns
Senior Curator Māori Culture

Puawai Cairns

Puawai is currently researching the stories of the several hundred Māori soldiers who served in the First World War. She has a long-standing research interest in the contemporary Māori world, the diversity of Māori activity over recent decades, and the potential for collecting objects relating to this period.
Iwi affiliation: Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāiterangi

Dougal Austin
Curator Taonga Tuturu 19-20th Century

Dougal Austin

Dougal (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu) has a particular research interest in the origins, development, cultural use and significance of hei tiki, an interest he will continue to develop. His current work has included a tour of the Kura Pounamu exhibition in China.
Iwi affiliation: Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu, Waitaha

Matiu Baker
Curator Historic Māori Visual Materials

Matiu Baker

Matiu has a broad interest in the many areas of Mātauranga Māori. Recent research has included work on Māori photographs and photography of Māori in nineteenth century New Zealand.
Iwi affiliation: Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue

Migoto Eria
Curator Mātauranga Māori

Migoto Eria

Migoto has a particular interest in contemporary interpretations of taonga Māoritaonga Māori Māori cultural treasures and Māori history. She has recently curated Hākui: Women of Kāi Tahu at Otago Museum and Ūkaipō – Ō tātou whakapapa at MTG Hawke’s Bay. Her interests extend to promoting te reo Māorite reo Māori Māori language and its use, an integral taongataonga treasure to her mahimahi job.
Nō Ngāti Pāhauwera o Ngāti Kahungunu me Ngāti Ruapani, Ngāi Tūhoe

Natural History

Alan Tennyson
Curator Vertebrates

Alan Tennyson

Alan's research covers most vertebrate animal groups but his particular expertise is in fossil and living birds. His current research focuses on the history and origins of New Zealand's animals and the conservation of seabirds in the South Pacific.
Publications – Google Scholar

Carlos Lehnebach
Curator Botany

Dr Carlos Lehnebach

Carlos is a botanist who studies the diversity, evolution and conservation of New Zealand flowering plants. His main groups of interest are terrestrial and epiphytic orchids, alpine plants, and plants shared with other land masses in the Southern Hemisphere.
Publications – Google Scholar

Clive Roberts
Curator Vertebrates

Clive Roberts

Clive is particularly interested in the systematics and biogeography of fishes of the Pacific Ocean, including accurate identification and description of New Zealand fish fauna.  This work includes development of the National Fish Collection and its database, and results in the discovery of new fish species in the region. His research includes fishes of deep reefs, oceanic ridges and seamounts, and the biodiversity patterns in deep-sea fishes.

Colin Miskelly
Curator Vertebrates

Dr Colin Miskelly

Colin is an ornithologist with broad interests, including conservation ecology, biogeography, and the history of science. An expert in bird identification, his research drove the creation of the website New Zealand Birds Online. Colin’s current research interests include the 2011 prion wreck, the phylogeny of prions (small seabirds), the history of legal protection of New Zealand wildlife, and the life and work of the naturalist Edgar Stead.

Heidi Meudt
Researcher Botany

Heidi Meudt

Heidi’s research focuses on the evolution and classification of native New Zealand flowering plants. She uses morphology, DNA and other data to understand evolutionary patterns and update the taxonomy of native forget-me-nots and foxgloves.
Publications – Google Scholar

Hokimate Harwood
Researcher Bicultural Science

Hokimate Harwood

Hokimate’s present interests centre around feather and hair identification in Te Papa’s Māori, Pacific and History collections. Archival and photographic collection research of the taonga Māori records has recently traced the movements and provenance of some of the Museum’s taonga and established connections with iwi Māori. Past research has included work on kererū (native pigeon) diet and ecology.
Iwi affiliation: Ngāpuhi
Publications – Google Scholar

Lara Shepherd
Researcher Genetics

Lara Shepherd

Lara is an evolutionary biologist who uses genetic techniques to study the evolution of New Zealand's flora and fauna. Current research includes examining the evolution of the seabirds prions, the cultivation and translocation of the country’s plant species by Māori and the spatial patterns of New Zealand’s bird and reptile species.
Publications – Google Scholar

Leon Perrie
Curator Botany

Leon Perrie

Leon’s research focuses on New Zealand’s ferns: their numbers, locations and identification. He has used DNA analyses to address this work and such questions as how ferns are related to one another and to species overseas.  He is currently working on accounts for the online eFlora of New Zealand. He also works on Pacific ferns, and has studied other plant groups, particularly Pseudopanax (lancewoods and five fingers).
Publications – Google Scholar

Patrick Brownsey
Research Fellow Botany

Pat Brownsey

Pat's special area of expertise is New Zealand ferns and allied plants. He is currently working with Landcare Research to publish the online eFlora of New Zealand and develop the New Zealand Virtual Herbarium.

Phil Garnock-Jones
Researcher Botany

Phil Garnock-Jones

Phil is a botanist who studies the evolution, classification, naming, and identification of native and naturalised plants, particularly hebes and speedwells (genus Veronica).  He is currently writing for the online eFlora of New Zealand, specifically the treatment for Veronica, which is a descriptive identification guide to all 140 species in the country.

Rick Webber
Curator Invertebrates

Rick Webber

Rick is a marine biologist specialising in Crustacea. His research is mostly on the identity of crabs, lobsters and shrimps, and especially the larvae of crabs. Currently he is researching the crabs and shrimps of Pacific islands, and the tiny larvae of pea crabs, the little crabs that live in mussels. He is also working with colleagues on a new species of land hoppers, the crustaceans that live on land, and on the identities of other small marine crustaceans.

Susan Waugh
Senior Curator Sciences

Susan Waugh

Susan manages the science and Natural History programme for the museum. Her personal field of expertise is in seabird population ecology, with research experience in petrel and albatross foraging, population estimation and fisheries by-catch management.
Publications – Google Scholar

Researchers

Claudia Orange
Honorary Research Fellow

Claudia Orange

Claudia is an historian whose research interests span most subjects in New Zealand history from the late 18th century to the present. Her major long-term research focus is on the country’s Treaty of Waitangi signed between Māori chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. Current research revolves around the continuing evolution of the Treaty’s role, and other issues relating to the country’s political, social and cultural identity.
Publications – Google Scholar

Michael Fitzgerald
Honorary Research Associate

Michael Fitzgerald

Michael has developed in-depth knowledge of New Zealand history and of the Museum's historical objects. He is involved in public programmes marking the First World War and researched the life stories of soldiers whose portraits were taken by the Berry & Co. studio in Wellington prior to their war service.

Ricardo Palma
Honorary Research Associate

Ricardo Palma

Ricardo’s research on parasitic lice includes morphology, taxonomy, systematics, phylogenetic relationships and host association. This work focuses mainly on New Zealand, Australia, and oceanic islands, with special emphasis on lice from sea birds. He also collaborates with foreign researchers on studies of lice from other regions, and with ornithologists on nomenclatorial matters relating to bird taxonomy.
Publications – Google Scholar

Enquiries

Email enquiries for Te Papa experts go to the Enquiry Centre initially. To help channel your enquiry, you can specify the person you think may be able to help you.
Contact a Te Papa expert via the Enquiry Centre