New museum staff reflect fresh focus

Three experienced museum staff have been appointed to the Otago Museum collections and research team, after an international recruitment search.

Robert Morris has been appointed as director, collections and research; Migoto Eria as curator Maori; and Nyssa Mildwaters as conservation manager, museum officials announced yesterday.

Museum director Dr Ian Griffin said the appointments reflected the museum's new strategic focus on its collection and on boosting numbers of collection-related staff.

Dr Griffin told an Otago Museum Trust Board meeting yesterday there had been many high-quality applicants and there was a ''buzz'' in the wider museum community about the museum's new direction.

Mr Morris, who is head of collections at the South Australia Museum in Adelaide, will take up his role full-time in Dunedin from August 4.

He had had more than 25 years' experience in curating, collection management and exhibition development in major museums in Australia, the UK and Europe and would lead the Otago collections and research team as it expanded and evolved, museum officials said.

Ms Eria is the inaugural curator Maori at MTG Hawkes Bay, the Napier-based Museum Theatre Gallery, and will take up her Dunedin post on June 30.

She would bring wide exhibition experience and cultural understanding to several projects, including the planned redevelopment of the museum's Tangata Whenua Gallery, officials said.

Ms Mildwaters, who is conservator at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England, takes up her Otago post on August 25.

She had a strong background in conservation practices and management, and had published research papers on several conservation-related topics, including dealing with corrosion in museum collections, officials said.

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