Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

OM appoints Dr Gerard O’Regan as

Dr Gerard O’Regan has been appointed as the Otago Museum’s new curator Maori. Photo: Supplied.

John Gibb, Otago Museum’s former liaison officer new curator Maori, Otago Daily Times, 29 February 2020

Former Otago Museum-based regional museums liaison officer Dr Gerard O’Regan has been appointed as the museum’s new curator Maori.

He has also been appointed to a Pouhere kaupapa Maori role, helping the museum team with the implementation of Maori-related matters.

Dr O’Regan (53), who completed a BA in anthropology at the University of Otago in 1989, later served as the museum’s liaison officer (1992-97).

“I’m hugely excited about the opportunity to come home and contribute back to the museum,” Dr O’Regan said in Auckland yesterday.

“The Otago Museum holds a special place in my heart,” he added.

Dr O’Regan has more than 30 years’ experience in heritage management through different museum, iwi and research staff positions, as well as in committee roles, and community appointments.

He specialises in the management of wahi tupuna (ancestral places), taonga (treasures) Maori collections, koiwi tangata (human remains) issues, southern Maori archaeology, and New Zealand’s rock art heritage.

Dr O’Regan is a qualified archaeologist with an Auckland University PhD in anthropology.

An early connection with the Otago Museum came when he came to support the international Te Maori exhibition on its return New Zealand tour, which ended in 1987.

Later, as liaison officer, he travelled throughout Otago and Southland to help local history societies and vintage machinery clubs.

He also later served as Ngai Tahu’s first heritage manager.

With the redevelopment of the Tangata Whenua gallery at the forefront of the museum’s five-year plan and master planning work, he is looking forward to the project’s challenges and responsibilities.

Museum director Dr Ian Griffin said Dr O’Regan’s “knowledge, experience, and connections will be a significant asset” for the museum’s development.

Dr O’Regan succeeds former curator Maori Rachel Wesley who taken up a post as Kaiwhakamaherehere/senior policy manager — Maori at the Dunedin City Council.

He returns to Dunedin from Auckland University’s James Henare Maori Research Centre where he is a research fellow focused on advancing iwi capacity in wahi tupuna management and Maori rock art.

He also has a Royal Society of NZ Marsden Fast Start grant for initiating a Maori archaeology of threatened North Island rock art.

Dr O’Regan starts his new job on April 14.


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