Peter – Operations Manager, Navy Museum
What attracted you to working at the Navy Museum?
During my career, I have most enjoyed working in industries which have some element of creativity, and do some social good. I have long been interested in history, particularly military history. The 10 minute walk from home, through a park and beside a beach, also helps.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the diversity of the role and its pragmatic nature. My role covers financial management, facilities management, general operations, health & safety and project management. So in a day, I can be working on a spreadsheet, writing a board paper, picking up a water-blaster to eliminate a safety hazard or organising a landscaping project with a tradie.
What do you enjoy least?
Coming from medium sized businesses in the private sector, I’ve had to adjust to public sector and NZDF ways of operating.
Name the most unexpected fact you have learnt since taking up your role at the Museum.
I’ve lived in Devonport for 30 years, but I was unaware that the buildings at the Navy Museum were constructed during the 1890’s Russian Scare and designed to run mines along the bottom of the Waitemata Harbour from Torpedo Bay to Kelly Tarlton’s, to be detonated remotely when a Russian invasion ship passed overhead.
Name your favourite object in the Museum and explain why you chose it.
I like objects with an amusing yarn attached. My current favourite is the Oerlikon 20mm cannon, which was not standard on NZ WW2 minesweepers but was apparently traded with a US Navy quartermaster in Vanuatu for a crate of spirits. It was then bolted to the deck of a NZ minesweeper, where it played a critical role in a close fought battle with a Japanese submarine. The main gun from the submarine is also in the Navy Museum.
What’s the most memorable thing you have done since being at the Museum?
I had two days at sea on HMNZS Te Mana while the skipper and crew put the ship and their weapons systems through their paces. It was before Te Mana deployed to the RIMPAC exercise in Hawaii where she won the prestigious Top Gun award.
Name the funniest moment since you joined the Museum?
More mildly amusing than side splitting funny. I was liaising with a machinery moving crew transporting the 10 tonne bronze propeller from HMNZS Canterbury to the Navy Museum. I was impressed by the size of the lifting kit and the guys operating it, who looked as if they each could have lifted the propeller unassisted. When we got to the museum with the propeller, I found another crane at least three times the size of the previous one, getting ready to lift the propeller over the museum into the courtyard. The burly blokes had a great time dropping the propeller precisely in the right place, and shifting the equally heavy gun from the Kaniere to make room, while we all crossed fingers and toes that the load would not be dropped on the museum. The café did very well that morning selling Big Breakfasts to the moving crew.
How do you enjoy spending your time outside work?
I’m a keen gardener and landscape designer. I also enjoy tramping and trail cycling.
What are you most looking forward to doing this Summer?
Walking my gorgeous daughter down the aisle in February.