New chief executive aims to build on Te Manawa Museum’s legacy





Susanna Shadbolt, Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage’s new chief executive, took up her role last week. She previously worked at Te Manawa as a registrar for art and touring exhibitions, curator and team leader. Since her departure in 2015, Shadbolt has taught the next generation of museum professionals at Massey University, and held the directorship of Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in Masterton. “As chief executive, I would hope to build on the museum’s legacy, extend and enrich the roles that Te Manawa has beyond its audience-focused activity, and really push its potential to serve as an agent of change,” she says. “I strongly believe that now is the time to transform the roles museums serve within our communities, envisioning them as living institutions and active spaces for connection and coming together, for dialogue and difficult conversations, and for listening and sharing.” Shadbolt has been accepted into the executive education programme for museum leaders at Claremont University in California. An intensive and academically rigorous course, it focuses on aspects vital to the health of museums, including audience engagement, diversity and inclusion, and strategy. Te Manawa Museums Trust chairman John Fowke says the board is thrilled by the mix of skills, passion and drive Shadbolt brings to the role. “Susanna is a proven champion for the arts and cultural sector. Her extensive background in museum and gallery practice, education, and business will be of enormous benefit. “We’re building on more than 20 years of museum and gallery practice at the forefront of inclusive, engaging and evolving programmes . . . the future is in very capable hands.”