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Te Papa chair Evan Williams asks to not have his contract renewed

The chair of Te Papa has asked to not have his contract renewed when his term comes to an end this June.

Photo: RNZ / CC40.0

Evan Williams had been on the board of the museum for eight years, and chair for six.

He told a select committee he had indicated to the relevant ministers he would prefer not to continue in the role.

It was because he was a believer in new blood, he said.

“I really strongly believe people can stick around too long, and I’m keen for other people to inject new energy and challenges.”

He was most proud of his efforts in tying down collections, so they would be less likely to be damaged in an earthquake, and his involvement in the museum’s ‘Gallipoli: The scale of our war’ exhibition.

The exhibition – to mark the end of WWI 100 years ago – was due to end soon, but would be extended, Mr Williams said.

During the select committee meeting Mr Williams was also asked questions about plans to build an arm of Te Papa in Manukau, Auckland.

Mr Willams said a budget bid had been put forward to develop a business case for the proposed storage facility.

It had been discussed with the appropriate ministry, but not the minister, he said.

He had been a champion of the project for five years.

Mr Williams also answered questions about whether the Te Papa should charge people to enter the museum.

He said he wanted to encourage the debate, but was not in favour of charging the public generally, because the museum held collections New Zealanders should have access to as right.

He also spoke about the maintenance work the museum had done after being given $40 million over four years to fix core infrastructure.

RNZ / Laura Dooney