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New Chief Executive For Te Papa

New Chief Executive For Te Papa

The Chairman and Board of The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa announced today the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Dr Seddon Bennington.

Dr Bennington is a New Zealander who is currently Director of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh in the United States, where he has been since 1994. Prior to that he was Chief Executive of the Scitech Discovery Center in Perth, Head of the Division of Professional Services at the Western Australian Museum, Director of the City Gallery Wellington, and Director of the Otago Early Settlers Museum in Dunedin.

The Chairman of Te Papa, Dr Roderick Deane, said that after a comprehensive search both within New Zealand and abroad, the Board of Te Papa had chosen Dr Bennington in light of his distinguished record of leadership in the museum and art gallery world. Dr Bennington is a scientist with a very strong commitment to and knowledge of the arts.

Dr Bennington has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Canterbury, and has also studied at university level art history, anthropology, New Zealand history and Mäori studies. He had a year working with Volunteer Service Abroad in Western Samoa in 1966.

He has been on the Board of the Association of Science Technology Centers and the Board of the Giant Screen Theater Association. He is currently Chairman of the Museum Film Network, President of the Pittsburgh Rotary Club, and a Board member of the Kuumba Trust, which supports Pan African arts in Pittsburgh and the Quantum Theater, an avant garde theatre company in Pittsburgh. He is a Past President of the Museums Association of Australia (Western Australian Branch) and was a member of the national executive of that body.

Apart from extensive museum experience, it is of interest to note that Dr Bennington was the inaugural Director of the Wellington City Art Gallery in 1980.

Dr Deane said that the Board was delighted with the appointment of Dr Bennington who was chosen after a search process involving candidates from within New Zealand and overseas. 49 applications were received and 25 leading candidates were interviewed.

Given the need to meet his commitments to the Carnegie Science Center, and the time needed for the move back to New Zealand, Dr Bennington, who is married with two children, will commence his new job in mid-January 2003.

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