Gallery Leadership Team

Executive Assistant to the Director: Valerie Shannon

Sarah joined the Gallery in December 2018 after eight years in the curatorial team at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, with the last six years as Senior Curator Art. She has previously held curatorial positions at City Gallery Wellington and is a graduate of the prestigious De Appel Curatorial Programme in the Netherlands. She has recently submitted a PhD in Curatorial Practice at Monash University, Melbourne.

Sarah led major art projects at Te Papa, including the curatorial development of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa and she was the lead curator for Toi Art. Her other exhibitions have included Warhol: Immortal and Meridian Lines: Contemporary Art from New Zealand. In addition to curatorial work, Sarah has been a member of Creative New Zealand’s NZ at Venice project team and Wellington City Council’s Public Art Panel, and contributed essays and articles to peer-reviewed journals, international art magazines and museum publications.

Catherine has worked at the Gallery since 1991, and was initially Programme Coordinator responsible for managing the exhibitions programme. From1997, her role expanded to Manager of the Collection and Exhibitions Services department. The teams in this department include the conservators, exhibitions designers, photographers, registrars and technicians. In recent years, the role was retitled Head of Collection Services to place more emphasis on the management, care and use of the art collections.

Catherine has a qualification and background in teaching with an arts specialisation. She was a Programme Manager and Regional Director for the former Queen Elizabeth 11 Arts Council of New Zealand from 1975-1988, followed by roles in the Applied Arts department of Auckland War Memorial Museum and exhibitions management at Waikato Art Museum from 1988 -1991. Catherine has sat on advisory groups for Te Paeranga National Services and attended the Getty Museum Leadership Programme in Melbourne.

Justine joined the Gallery in late January 2019, heading up the strategic direction of learning, outreach, public programmes and digital content, and leading the development of new and diverse audiences from Auckland and beyond through community partnerships, projects and initiatives.

Justine brings 25 years experience in cultural learning provision. She was Head of Young People at National Portrait Gallery, London, from 2009, leading strategic and consultative approaches for, and with, 3-21-year-old audiences including schools, families and young people 14-21. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences and seminars internationally, sharing sector practice in Spain, Australia and Brazil. Previously, she worked at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and City Gallery, Wellington, encouraging new and diverse audiences to access the institutions, and their collections and exhibitions. Justine was also a secondary art teacher and a practicing artist.

Sue has extensive experience in building global and national networks, creating partnerships and developing long term stakeholder relationships. In her role as Head of Advancement, she has overarching responsibility for corporate sponsorship, membership, fundraising and philanthropy, stakeholder management and strategic partnerships. 

Prior to her current role, Sue built a global network of influential New Zealand expatriates as part of the Kea World Class New Zealand Network, which exists to enhance and support New Zealand’s international reputation, business, innovation and connectivity. She also has deep experience in event management and fundraising.

Gallery Curatorial Team

In 2017, Julia co-curated Gordon Walters: New Vision and, in 2015, Freedom and Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930-1960, both touring exhibitions with associated publications.

Julia’s research interests are focused on the development of modern art in New Zealand, global modernisms and documentary photography. She has a Masters in Art History from the University of Auckland (First Class Honours), a Masters of Museum and Heritage Studies from Victoria University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours: First Class) in Art History from the University of Otago.


Emma's areas of expertise include seventeenth-century Dutch art, seventeenth-century portraiture and nineteenth-century New Zealand photography. Current areas of research focus on the construction of narratives in nineteenth-century New Zealand photographic albums, the history of the Gallery’s collection of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and prints, and the commercial aspects of the seventeenth-century French print market.