Museums Aotearoa Lifetime Honorary Memberships

02 May 2024

The Board of Museums Aotearoa is pleased to award Lifetime Honorary memberships to two people who have had made significant impacts to our sector over their illustrious careers: John Coster and Susan Abasa. We recognise the contribution John and Susan have made in guiding, teaching and mentoring many of us.

Susan Abasa

Susan has worked in and for museums since her mid-twenties.

Invited to join Museum Studies at Massey as Teaching Fellow in 1996, she was appointed to a lectureship the following year.

In late 2008 she became Programme Co-ordinator. Susan also served as honorary curator of Massey’s art collections at the Manawatū campus 1996–2022.

While Susan brought her professional experiences in University Art Collections; as head of exhibitions and then head of education and access at Queensland Art Gallery; as the Executive Officer of the Art Museums Association of Australia and policy development, to the job – there was much to learn about museums in New Zealand.

Susan is passionate about life-long learning and the opportunities distance studies offer by broadening access to postgraduate tertiary education for those already working in museums as well as those aspiring to careers in the sector.

John Coster

John entered the museum sector in 1988 as Museums Liaison Officer at Auckland Museum, organising training and advisory services to small museums in the northern North Island.

He later worked as an independent consultant in archaeology and museums practice.

He has spent the last thirty years compiling some fifty feasibility studies and assessments for small museums throughout the country, as well as undertaking a range of archaeological work.

He has also served on the Council of AGMANZ, the Art Galleries & Museums Association, and then Secretary, in 1991-92, of its successor, the Museums Association of Aotearoa New Zealand Te Rōpu Hanga Kaupapa Taonga.