New director for museum ‘impressive’

Eloise Wallace
Eloise Wallace
Invercargill's museum redevelopment has been given another major boost, with the appointment of an experienced museum director who has worked in both small and large museums.

Invercargill City Council chief executive Michael Day yesterday announced Eloise Wallace had been appointed to the position of museum director for the city’s new cultural facility Te Unua Museum of Southland.

"Eloise comes to us with a varied and impressive background in the museum and heritage sector, both here in New Zealand and overseas, and an abundance of skills that will ensure our vision to create an industry-leading museum is achieved," he said.

Te Unua Museum of Southland is part of the council’s Project 1225, which involves the creation of three key cultural facilities in Invercargill.

The project also includes the construction of a new specialist tuatara enclosure at the animal reserve within Queens Park, and a museum collection storage facility at Tisbury.

"Eloise has an exceptional reputation within the museum sector and we are delighted to welcome her on board," Mr Day said.

Ms Wallace said Project 1225 marked an exciting time of renewal and reinvention in Invercargill.

"Following this project from afar, I was really drawn to the aspirational community vision for what a museum could and should be in Southland," she said.

"Having spent most of my career working in regional New Zealand, and knowing the innovation, creativity and can-do attitude that comes with living and working in the regions, I wasn’t surprised that Southlanders had a big, bold vision for their new museum," Ms Wallace said.

"The opportunity to develop a new museum doesn’t come along every day, so it’s a real privilege to be part of the team taking on the challenge of creating an innovative, world-class museum experience in Invercargill — for the people of Southland, and for visitors from all over the world," she said.

Ms Wallace was born in Auckland and grew up in Tauwhare in rural Waikato.

She has worked in the museum and heritage sector for more than two decades — both throughout New Zealand, and at the renowned Imperial War Museum London.

For more than eight years, she has been director of Tairāwhiti Museum & Art Gallery, in Gisborne.

She has also served since 2021 as co-chairwoman of Museums Aotearoa, New Zealand’s independent national body for museums and galleries, and also serves as a trustee of the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch.

An award-winning history curator, Ms Wallace has also been deputy chairwoman of Heritage Tairāwhiti, and has been extensively involved within other organisations across the arts, heritage, culture, tourism and education sectors in both Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay.

Ms Wallace will officially take up the position early next year.