Former TVNZ boss takes over at Te Papa

Rick Ellis, who was chief executive of TVNZ, will take over at Te Papa.

Rick Ellis, who was chief executive of TVNZ, will take over at Te Papa.

Former TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis will take the reins of Te Papa promising a major shakeup.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's board announced Ellis' selection as its chief executive this morning, saying he was renowned for helping organisations "take dramatic steps forward".

Te Papa had searched for someone who could provide "inspirational leadership" and move its capabilities to a different level, chairman Evan Williams said.

That would include capital and asset management, intellectual capacity, curatorial and audience engagement, and financial and operating capability, he said.

"This will require a shift in the culture of the organisation. We believe Mr Ellis has the right skills and experience to lead this."

Ellis comes to his new role, which begins in two weeks, from a 25-year career in IT in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

At state broadcaster TVNZ, where he was chief executive for 10 years, he led the introduction of digital channels and the push into on-demand online and digital content services, Williams said.

Ellis led the transformation of Telstra's internet protocol television (IPTV) and digital content services as Telstra Media's Sydney-based group executive.

"His extensive background in digital media offers so much to Te Papa as we extend beyond the walls of our buildings. He has a passion for making Te Papa available for everyone in New Zealand and he has also accepted our brief to build a succession plan based on fostering New Zealand-based talent.

"While Mr Ellis has not worked in the museums sector, we believe his time at TVNZ is particularly relevant, leading a public sector organisation responsible for delivering content that is enjoyed and valued by New Zealanders and working with creative teams and cultural issues in a very public space.

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"With the strength of our excellent curatorial team alongside him, we are confident he will build on Te Papa's existing strengths and take Te Papa to a new level of performance and excellence."

Ellis said he was delighted to join an iconic organisation with such an important role to play as New Zealand's national museum. 

"Te Papa has a strong vision for the future to change hearts, change minds and change lives, as well as exciting events in the near future with the WWI Gallipoli exhibition and the development of Te Papa's national collections and storage facility in Manukau.

"I'm looking forward to working with the Te Papa team to help strengthen a national treasure that Kiwis can be proud of."

 - The Dominion Post

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