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Te Papa CE to become Special Adviser on Military Heritage

Te Papa Chief Executive to become Special Adviser on Military Heritage

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is pleased to announce that Michael Houlihan has been seconded to the position of Special Adviser on Military Heritage, for the next twelve months, leading in to the 2015 Anzac Day commemorations and opening of the National War Memorial Park.

Mike Houlihan has held the position of Keeper of the Department of Permanent Exhibitions and Head of Exhibitions Research at the Imperial War Museum, in London. He is a leading international authority on military history and has published widely on the subject with a specialist focus on the Western Front, 1914–18. As the first Chief Executive of National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland, Houlihan undertook the merger of Northern Ireland’s three government-funded museums. In 2003, he became Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, a single entity including seven museums illustrating the national story of Wales.

“His experience in military history and in delivering significant projects with many partners, will play an important part in the lead up to the 2015 Anzac Day Commemorations,” says Lewis Holden, Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. “Given the significance of the 2015 Commemorations to New Zealanders, it is important that the Government takes a coordinated approach to the events.” Other external advisers include the Centenary Panel: Don McIver, Brian Roche, HE Michael Potts, Sir Peter Jackson, Dame Anne Salmond, Dr Monty Soutar, Cervantee Wild, Peter Biggs, Sir Bob Harvey, Hon Rick Barker, Matthew Te Pou, Carol Hirschfeld, and Wayne Mapp.

Recognised as one of the leading curators and museum managers in New Zealand, Mr Houlihan has been Chief Executive of Te Papa since August 2010. Te Papa Board Chairman, Evan Williams, acknowledged the role Mike has played over the last four and a half years. “Mike’s museological contribution has been exemplary and we thank him for it. He has led Te Papa’s process for Envisioning the Future and has helped create a solid platform for the future of Te Papa. He will also continue to assist Te Papa with the very exciting World War 1 exhibition programme that he has curated. This will open on Anzac Day 2015. ” The Te Papa Board will appoint an Acting Chief Executive for Te Papa, while an international search for a new Chief Executive is undertaken.

Mr Houlihan starts his new role on 12 May. “New Zealand’s history of military engagement is about more than distant theatres of war,” says Houlihan. “The nation has rich stories about society in times of conflict here and abroad, these are an important and vital part of New Zealand identity.”

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