UK recruit to head Otago Museum

Ian Griffin.
Ian Griffin.
The Otago Museum's new director is Dr Ian Griffin, a British-born professional astronomer, museum specialist and former Nasa head of public outreach.

Dr Griffin (47), who will take up the Dunedin post in late May, is chief executive of the Oxford Trust in Oxford, England, a charitable foundation which encourages ''the pursuit of science'' and related education.

He also chairs the UK Association of Science and Discovery Centres, representing the interests of the 60 centres in Britain.

The Dunedin appointment - for which Dr Griffin will receive total annual remuneration of $250,000 - marks the biggest change in the Otago Museum's operational leadership in 18 years.

The museum's previously long-serving chief executive, Shimrath Paul, resigned last September to become head of an Indonesian centre of excellence for cancer treatment, in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

Married, with three children, Dr Griffin gained a PhD in astronomy from University College London in 1991.

He has since held a series of senior posts, including as director of the Museum of Science and Industry, in Manchester, England (2004-08), and head of the Office of Public Outreach and director of Nasa Origins Education Forum Space Telescope Science Institute, in Baltimore, Maryland (2001-04).

He was also chief executive of the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium Trust (1999-2001).

Dr Griffin said he was ''honoured and excited'' to have been selected as the museum's next director.

''With its amazing, diverse and unique collections, the Otago Museum can play a key role in stimulating interest in our past,'' he said.

The museum could also ''inspire our visitors to address the challenges we face in the future''.

Otago Museum Trust Board chairman Graham Crombie said Dr Griffin's appointment would be ''really good, really positive'' for the museum.

The appointment had resulted from a ''comprehensive recruitment process'' and the board had been ''delighted'' with the quality of the candidates available.

The board had been seeking someone with demonstrated leadership ability, who was highly regarded in the profession, with commercial acumen and proven experience in developing positive cultures in institutions.

Dr Griffin had a proven record and his academic and scientific background added significant value.

The board looked forward to further developing the museum's contribution in these areas, Mr Crombie said.

Appointing the new director was a key decision for the board and the most important he had faced since becoming board chairman about two years ago, he said.

Mr Crombie noted there had been significant public interest in the director role, including the remuneration package.

The board had the package assessed by an ''independent remuneration provider'' and an all-inclusive package of $250,000, including vehicle use, had been agreed. Mr Paul's salary package was $310,793.

The board had advertised internationally for a replacement, using a recruitment agency, receiving 46 applications from Dunedin, elsewhere in the country and abroad.

Mr Crombie said about $50,000 had been spent on the recruitment process.

The costs, which included advertising within New Zealand and abroad, were ''in line'' with, or cheaper than, costs required to obtain a chief executive for other organisations, he said.

Asked why the new museum head was being called ''director'' as opposed to the previous ''chief executive'', Mr Crombie said the change of name was ''simply a matter of convention'' and the underlying leadership role had remained the same.

The Old Time Museum Show

The Otago Museum is renowned for scientific collections, but 40 years ago made do with a Polynesian anthro floor, Euro immigrants wing, one Marquesan behind glass and an alabaster Grecian sheila with no arms. Who could ask for anything more?

There you go

re Pablo's comments.  See what I mean?

Embrace change and take another step

With the appointment of Dr Ian Griffin an opportunity to correct the imbalance of having two contempory museums in Dunedin exists.

Today, due to the bold changes with the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, there exists an annex of the otago Museum. Yes, there are portions of the European Settler experience that the insitution was founded upon along with the hazy political inclusion of the now dominant Iwi invaders who swept through the lower South Island approx 250 years ago. 

The reality is now that both museums are the same, only seperated by a wee distance. Yes, the TOSM ideally placed for the tourist boat trains, Railway Station & now the Jail with it's tours.

The TOSM needs to shed it's current upper management structure & to be managed by the very successful Otago Museum. The egg was cracked, now lets make an omelette. Retention of the last of the skilled & repected TOSM staff by this change would ensure that the corprate knowledge gained from the past is not lost or further frittered away. 

Even a layman to the heritage/museum sector would understand the savings both to the ratepayers & the with consolidating of our heritage assets. Too much has be lost to date in the name of progress. The DCC needs to open public dialogue as soon as possible in this matter.

Welcome to Dunedin Ian Griffin, and grasp the tiller with both hands. 

No wonder they leave

Every year we tell those getting their degrees how important they are to NZ and how they should stay here to stop the brain drain but what do we do to encourage them to stay? We give most of the best jobs to foreigners and places from ranging from Fontera, medical school (here), uni jobs, telecom, DCC, stadium (until now), hospitals, museums, Fletcher challenge etc are all doing this.

This has to stop as why would a young person with a degree or even someone wanting to rise through the ranks stay when the chance of them working their way to the top job is slim, we need to value our selves better as we do have the people to run the top jobs and we do have some very skilled and talented people here but we need to use them before they all go and we lose even more knowledge and power.


The best news ever!

Thank goodness it went to an external candidate!

Let's hope a new broom sweeps clean and the first thing that happens is an organisation-wide restructure!

"...proven experience in
developing positive cultures in institutions" is exactly what the Otago Museum needs desperately.

Vive la revolution! :)

A foreigner? Surely not

Cue more xenophobic bile from the DAPL.

A foreigner? Running our museum? Why can't we have someone from Dunedin running it?  Surely there's someone with the required qualifications already here, they will cry.

Maybe the museum should have gone down to WINZ to recruit the person. Bound to be someone down there who is suitable.  

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