Former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to lead Te Papa museum

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1 NEWS

Former Television New Zealand boss Rick Ellis is promising big changes at the troubled national museum, following his appointment as its new chief executive today.

Rick Ellis

Source: 1 NEWS

The last chief executive Michael Houlihan left abruptly in May this year amid allegations Te Papa was in financial strife, but Mr Ellis believes the issues have been rectified.

Te Papa in Wellington

"The board and chairman, Evan Williams, have reassured me that the issues that have been widely publicised over the past 18 months or so have been addressed and the organisation is actually in great shape for a new leader like me to come in and take it forward," Mr Ellis said.

Mr Ellis, who has most recently been Group Executive of Telstra Media in Sydney, is promising to bring Te Papa into a new digital and interactive era.

"There are so many stories that we can tell, but we need to get them out there in a very accessible way, on smartphones iPads and in the online environment.

"We'll be moving away from the passive physical engagement of the past and looking to technology innovation here out of New Zealand, as well as what others are doing and learn from that and hopefully bring something quite magic alive."

Te Papa chairman Evan Williams said the former TVNZ chief executive will bring a "shift in the culture of the organisation".

"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," Mr Williams said.

Mr Ellis downplayed his lack of experience in the museum sector. "I don't see any disadvantage of that at all, I'm a CEO, I'm a leader, my job is to take this organisation forward and Te Papa has a rich compliment of curators and experts in the museum field."

Mr Ellis will begin his role on November 24.

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