The entire board of Aotearoa museums resigns abruptly

The entire board of Museums Aotearoa abruptly resigned after concerns about its governance and management.

The organization’s remaining executive director, Phillipa Tocker, refuses to comment on the situation, despite being involved in a report that the board has resigned due to “fundamental disagreements” with her.

Museums Aotearoa is a Wellington-based national organization that advocates and supports museums, art galleries, heritage properties and their employees in New Zealand. It offers surveys, networking, an annual conference and awards. It is funded almost entirely by membership fees and its board of directors is made up of museum professionals.

Phillipa Tocker, executive director of Museums Aotearoa, right, has been with the organization for over a decade.  (File photo)

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Phillipa Tocker, executive director of Museums Aotearoa, right, has been with the organization for over a decade. (File photo)

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Late Friday April 9, Louisa Hormann, a member of the board of directors for almost two years, sent an email to members of the GLAM sector (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) announcing the resignation of all members of the board of directors .

“I regret to inform you that all the members of the board of directors of Museums Aotearoa have unanimously agreed to resign from their functions,” she wrote in the email, which was obtained by Thing.

“It is my duty to inform you that from Friday April 9, I also submitted my resignation. The decision to quit is not taken lightly by any of us.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

A look inside the Auckland Museum’s new South Atrium and the new features added. Video first published in November 2020.

“Due to continuing concerns regarding the governance and management of the Aotearoa Museums, the members of the Board of Trustees are united in their determination that this is the right course of action. “

She said the board has passed a number of resolutions to meet its succession responsibilities and to minimize the impact on its members.

In the meantime, the executive director of Museums Aotearoa – Tocker – had been given various powers to call an annual general meeting and “allow a smooth transition” to another board of directors.

Hormann represented the Emerging Museum Professionals New Zealand (EMPNZ) network as a candidate for the board of directors.

“I will be supporting the EMPNZ committee during the transition of this board, including contingency planning in case [Museums Aotearoa] comes to an end, and to ensure a smooth handover for whoever takes over my role, ”she said in the email.

Te Papa closed for a record 68 days last year due to the pandemic.  (File photo)

ROSA WOODS / Stuff

Te Papa closed for a record 68 days last year due to the pandemic. (File photo)

Publication of artistic news online The big idea reported that the board had resigned due to “fundamental disagreements” with Tocker, who has worked for Museums Aotearoa for more than a decade.

Tocker said The big idea that a notice had been sent confirming the resignation of the board of directors and that transitional arrangements were being worked out before setting a date for this year’s annual general meeting.

Tocker said she was unable to provide a statement to Thing on massive resignations. Aotearoa Museums had a staff of 1.5 full-time equivalents, including her, she said.

“I’m sorry, I can’t comment at this point.”

The museum sector has been affected by Covid-19 with numerous door closings, loss of income or the need to modify and adapt to new public health guidelines.


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