27 Mar 2019

Te Papa museum lists ad for new curator after expert made redundant

9:06 am on 27 March 2019

A scientist says his community is shocked Te Papa museum has listed an ad for a new curator to work with molluscs, after just making a world-renowned mollusc expert redundant.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Wellington

There has been a shocked response at Te Papa museum after an ad listing for a new curator to work with molluscs. Photo: CC4.0

Scientist Dr Bruce Marshall has been made redundant in the museum's restructure.

Now an ad has been placed on a job website, calling for an inverebrates curator to work with molluscs.

The advertisement had caused shock in the sector, Otago University's Dr Nic Rawlence said.

He said it was a big "slap in the face".

Dr Rawlence says Dr Marshall's shoe's would be hard to fill.

Justin, Bruce and Nic

Otago University's Dr Nic Rawlence. Photo: RNZ / Alison Ballance

"If Te Papa choses the right person they will have an internationally recognised level of experience. They're looking for a person with expertise in New Zealand molluscs, and there are very few people in the world with that expertise, I could probably count them on one hand."

There were a few people who were experienced enough to do the job in New Zealand, but he believed there was no one in Te Papa itself with the experience to take on the position.

Whoever took on the role would have Dr Marshall there with him, as he had been given a six-month respite from being made redundant, and would then stay on as a research associate.

The fate of his colleague, Andrew Steward, was still unknown after he lodged an appeal against his redundancy.

The position being advertised was for a curator, who would be a scientific researcher at PhD level, Te Papa head of science Susan Waugh said.

The collection manager role that had been disestablished was more about hands-on care of the collections, rather than scientific research.

"We respect the expertise of the person whose role as a collection manager was disestablished. We are grateful he can stay with Te Papa over the coming months to work with the new curator once they come on board." she said.