Long-serving former Otago Museum chief executive Shimrath
Paul has been granted a rare honour- having a wing at the
museum named after him.
After a nearly three-hour-long farewell function at the
museum last night, Mr Paul was surprised to be invited
outside to the museum staff car park, shortly before 9pm.
There he climbed into a cherry picker and was hoisted 17m up
the side of a wing of the museum complex, which had been
built as part of stage two of the museum's redevelopment,
completed under his leadership in the year 2000.
He then removed masking materials to reveal the name
''Shimrath Paul Wing''.
''Thank you from the bottom of my heart,'' he told Otago
Museum Trust Board chairman Graham Crombie and more than 100
dignitaries, well-wishers and museum staff, after climbing
down from the cherry picker.
He had told onlookers, as he soared up the side of the
building, he was no lover of heights.
During an earlier farewell speech he said he had greatly
enjoyed his time at the museum and thanked all those
''fantastic people'' who had helped him ''make a difference
for our community''.
Mr Paul joined the museum in 1990 as project manager for the
museum's new Discovery World science centre, and left as the
museum's chief executive in September last year, to take up a
senior medical centre management post in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The significance of Mr Paul's more than 20-year contribution
to the museum was underscored by praise last night from many
people, including Mr Crombie, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and
former mayor Peter Chin.
Mr Cull said Mr Paul had ''lived and breathed'' the museum,
and thanked him for his major achievements and the way his
''personal touch'' had helped build many beneficial
relationships, including in Shanghai, Dunedin's Chinese
The significance of Mr Paul's contribution was also
underscored by the presence of several leading dignitaries,
including Prof Chen Kelun, a respected senior figure at the
Shanghai Museum, and June, Lady Hillary. Lady Hillary played
a leading role in the donation of Hillary collection items to
the museum in 2010, including mountaineering artefacts once
owned by the late Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb
The museum's stage two building work accommodates the
museum's popular Southern Land, Southern People gallery,
which opened in 2002.
''Te Ao Maori: Maori Treasures from the Otago Museum'', the
Otago Museum's first major exhibition in China, attracted
more than 600,000 visitors to the Shanghai Museum in 2011. Mr
Paul said strong relationships the Otago Museum leadership
team had built over the years with the Shanghai Museum had
proved crucial in the success of the Te Ao Maori show.