Te Papa's museum's chief executive Geraint Martin is stepping down at the end of the year.
Mr Martin, who oversaw a controversial restructure of the museum, said he had set out what he meant to do at the state-funded facility.
He said it had been a privilege to be part of the team leading Te Papa, which he described as a truly special place.
Mr Martin said it has been an honour to work with the taonga of the nation, and the team that looks after it.
Mr Martin has been in the job since April 2017.
Earlier this year Te Papa backtracked on a decision to make fish expert Andrew Stewart redundant, after he lodged an appeal.
Mr Stewart was set to lose his job alongside his colleague, world-renowned mollusc expert Dr Bruce Marshall, as part of a restructure of the museum's natural history team.
News of the restructure caused a backlash among the science community both in New Zealand and overseas when it was revealed last year.
After the criticism, the museum also offered Dr Marshall the chance to stay on for another six months.
Previously, Te Papa director of strategy Dean Peterson defended the restructure, saying the museum was making changes to keep up with the fast-changing areas of biodiversity and biosecurity.