Illinois-born Dr Dean Peterson joined Te Papa in 2016 and has spent three years developing the museum's largest redevelopment since it opened - Te Taiao Nature exhibition space, which will be open to the public for the first time on May 11th.
Covering 1,400 square-metres, and including 1,200 items from Aotearoa's natural world, Te Taiao features four distinct zones in which visitors will get the chance to create their own tsunami, experience an earthquake, weigh in against a giant moa, or pledge to do their bit to help combat climate change.
Dr Peterson's background includes working at both NASA and Antarctica NZ. He was managing Scott Base when Sir Edmund Hillary died and gave the first eulogy at the service held at McMurdo Station Chapel.
He is currently Te Papa's Director of Strategy and Performance.