The Whangarei Art Museum Trust

The Whangarei Art Museum Trust Board, formed prior to the museum's opening in 1996, is charged with the governance of the Whangarei Art Museum.

A Trust Board, comprised of seven trustees, is responsible for governing the Whangārei Art Museum. Four trustees are approved by Whangārei District Council (WDC) and the Trust appoints the other three trustees.

Whangārei Art Museum Trust’s (WAMT) actions and direction are determined by the Trust Deed, which details the Trust’s objectives. These include the operation of the Art Museum, and the requirement to support, stimulate and enhance the artistic and cultural life of the Whangārei district.

As the majority of trustees are WDC-appointed, WAMT is referred to as a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO), but it is entirely independent in terms of operation and governance.

This independence is essential to protect the Whangārei Art Museum’s charitable status. It ensures the museum retains eligibility for charitable funding, and that it remains the appropriate organisation to receive artworks from benefactors who wish to make bequests to an organisation that operates in the interests of the greater community.

The operation of the Whangārei Art Museum Trust is audited annually by Audit New Zealand and reports to the community on a regular basis.

The Whangārei Art Museum Trust Board Members

Thomas Biss (Chair)

Thomas Biss is the Chair of the Whangārei Art Museum Trust. He is also a shareholder and director of Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth, a law firm in Whangārei, where he heads the business law team. Thomas has more than 25 years’ experience in advising businesses large and small, and as a director of a medium-sized business, he contributes common sense and commercial advice to the board of WAM.

Thomas believes that art should be available to all and that exposure to art is a good thing. He feels it is a duty of local and central government to encourage and foster art and artists in the community. The work of Whangārei Art Museum supports those goals.

Sharon Morgan

Sharon Morgan is a committed, longtime champion of Northland’s creative sector. She’s been a member or trustee of organisations including Creative Northland, Te Kōwhai Print Trust, Northland Craft Trust, The Old Library Building Arts Centre, Kiwi North, and the Packard Motor Museum. She was an inaugural committee member for the Whangārei Sculpture Symposium, and continues to be a patron of the event.

Sharon was a WDC councillor for 12 years, and served six of those years as deputy mayor. A WAMT trustee since 2011 (and Chair for four of those years), she was heavily involved with fundraising for the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery. Sharon remains passionate about promoting creative initiatives to elevate awareness of the district’s cultural, heritage and artistic value.

Andy Britton BSc (Hons)

Andy Britton was an audit partner with PWC for 16 years. Since leaving the firm, he has specialised in professional mentoring and executive coaching – consulting with large private and public-sector businesses and organisations in New Zealand and Australia. Andy has served as Chair of several Boards. He is now a director and co-owner of Coaching Pacific Ltd, a Leadership Development consultancy working in Australasia and Europe.

Andy is a Fellow Chartered Accountant with CAANZ and the ICAEW, a member of the Institute of Directors and the Change Management Institute, and an associate certified coach with the International Coaching Federation.

Carin Wilson

Carin Wilson is a former president and Fellow of the Designer’s Institute of NZ. He was the founding Chair of Ngā Aho, the Society of Māori Design Professionals and is an honorary holder of Toi Iho – the quality mark for Māori Arts. Ngā Aho conferred the honour Kāhui Whetū in recognition of his contribution. He has an Honorary Diploma in Art and Design and is a practising artist with more than 30 solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. He is a deep strategic thinker, and brings more than 30 years’ experience in design, education and business.

Carin has also been involved in the development of the Te Aranga Design Principles and the Awatoru model as an approach to achieving authenticity in art and design practice in New Zealand. The Te Aranga principles have been championed by Auckland Council in its Design Manual and are gradually being adopted by local bodies throughout New Zealand.

Jill McPherson

Dr Jill McPherson has extensive governance experience, having served as the president of the Tern Point Recreation and Conservation Society, and as director of the Westhaven Marina Trust and the Auckland Early Childhood Trust. Jill has worked in senior roles within several councils and council organisations. She was acting chief executive of Kaipara District Council, chief strategy officer for Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd, and general manager of Arts, Community and Recreation at Auckland Council. She has a passion for projects that enhance community access to the arts and recreation.

Councillor Ken Couper

Councillor Ken Couper (Bream Bay ward) is the WDC appointee on the WAMT Board. He is currently a trustee of the Otamtea Vet Club, and the WDC appointee on the Northland Chamber of Commerce Board.

Ken is a fourth-generation dairy farmer living in Waipū, and also works as a Justice of the Peace. His previous governance experience includes being on the board of the Northland Foundation, the Waipu Primary School board of trustees, and until recently acting as the Chair of the Waipu Museum.