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Meet Tania

What attracted you to working at the Navy Museum?
I was born in Devonport, and both my grandfather and stepfather were in the Royal NZ Navy. I lived in Navy housing in both Wakakura Crescent and Belmont as a child. I love history, so this was the perfect job for me.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
As a former schoolteacher I enjoy sharing knowledge with visitors. We have some amazing stories here. It is very special when Veterans and/or their families visit. I’m constantly learning new information and different perspectives.

What do you enjoy least?
My eyes leaking involuntarily when I hear or read about great sacrifices made during the wars.

Name the most unexpected fact you have learnt since taking up your role at the Museum.
That a local street and rest home are named after the brave Lieutenant Commander William Sanders. Born and raised in Takapuna, he is the only New Zealander to win the Victoria Cross in Naval action. In WW1 he showed extreme courage, enticing German submarines to the surface while pretending to be a helpless merchant vessel. We have a model of his Q-Ship HMS Prize and replicas of his medals.

Name your favourite object in the Museum and explain why you chose it.
The Otago ships bell. As a mum I found it fascinating that babies who were born when their Navy fathers were at sea, could be baptised in the ships bell when they returned home. There was a special holder for the bell to be turned upside down and the Navy Chaplain would often use a shell to anoint them. Some bells have the baby’s names engraved inside the rim. The Otago bell has the name of someone I know.

What’s the most memorable thing you have done since being at the Museum?

Finding my grandfather on display! I am able to share his story of witnessing Nuclear Testing on HMNZS Pukaki during Operation Grapple in 1957.

Name the funniest moment since you joined the Museum?
When I screamed upon encountering our resident dummy “Popeye” (Horatio) in his bunk bed.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside work?
I love gardening and reading. And wine. It is a joy to spend time with my family.

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