Ann – Business Services Manager, Navy Museum
What attracted you to working at the Navy Museum?
I’d been working for NZDF at the Naval Base as a Human Resource Advisor and the Navy Museum was part of my portfolio, so I’d had several years of working with and getting to know the Museum team. I have always loved visiting museums and galleries so with the opening of the ‘new’ Museum at Torpedo Bay in 2010, I decided it was time for a career change and applied for the Business Services Manager position. But, little did I know what I was getting myself into. Here I am eight years later, significantly wiser especially with the business side of the museum sector and still learning something new everyday.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The people and the variety my role offers. I work with a wide range of wonderful people especially our RNZN personnel currently serving and retired along with some overseas Navies. In my role I am responsible for events and venue hire, retail and the café with a focus on generating revenue for the Navy Museum Trust, enhancing our visitor experience and helping bring new audiences into our museum, I never know what each day will bring!
Name the most unexpected fact you have learnt since taking up your role at the Museum.
Before I took up the role at the Museum I’d only been a visitor and didn’t realise the complexities of the museum sector and what it encompassed: collections, curatorial, public programmes, education, operations and business services. Even within business services there are significant differences to other sectors e.g. cultural retail vs other retail. Associations like Museums Aotearoa and especially Museum Shops Association of Australia and New Zealand (MSAANZ) have been vital in helping me to expand my knowledge and network in the sector.
Name your favourite object in the Museum and explain why you chose it.
The HMS New Zealand mahogany sideboard in the AD Boyle Room. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and has an incredible story to tell, surviving the three main sea battles of WW1. It was in the Admiral’s day cabin on HMS New Zealand and was salvaged when the battlecruiser was broken up in 1923. It then sat at Parliament House in Wellington until the 1990s when it was gifted to the Navy Museum. It was in our collection store until the AD Boyle Room and WW1 Commemorative Pavilion opened in 2015. I feel especially privileged, as I actually get to use the sideboard when we host senior VIP events in the Boyle Room including dinners hosted by the Chief of Navy for overseas dignitaries.
What’s the most memorable thing you have done since being at the Museum?
Working with playwright Geoff Allen, director Amanda Rees and the cast on two sell-out seasons of Sister Anzac about New Zealand and Australian nurses who served overseas during WW1, which was staged at the Museum in 2014/15, it was a very cool experience! The play went onto enjoy a season at the Maritime Museum and Basement Theatre.
I’ve also been involved in organising a number of memorable events including the opening of Boatshed, WW1 Commemorative Pavilion and various exhibitions including the Navy’s 75th Anniversary.
Name fun moments since you joined the Museum?
I’ve done a number of fun things since joining the Museum team have included an overnight trip with other members of the team on Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) HMNZS Wellington, daytrips on HMNZS Te Mana and with the Sister Anzac cast on Manawanui and Rotoiti, all great experiences and things I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to do.
How do you enjoy spending your time outside work?
With my wonderful family and friends. And spending time ‘pottering’ with my new hobby; I’ve always loved having fresh cut flowers around the house (and on my desk at work) so my awesome husband built me a ‘flower’ box this summer – and so far I’ve grown a lovely selection of dahlias and roses. I also love black and white photography – something I plan to do more of when I have more leisure time!
What have you most enjoyed doing this Summer?
Swimming and relaxing on Cheltenham Beach thanks to the beautiful summer we’ve had this year.