The Central Hawke's Bay Museum has said farewell to its longstanding chairman Hans Dresel who, with no museum running experience, oversaw a renovation and lead for nine years.
A Porangahau resident and owner of Waipukurau business Red Snap'r Electric Fencing Systems, Hans announced his retirement last month after serving 12 years on the committee, nine of those at the helm.
During his time as chair he oversaw initiatives that ensured the museum continued to serve its place for the region, now and into the future.
While being a lifelong businessman, he says he had no experience running a museum before joining up.
"It was a new thing for me - I had visited plenty of museums, and I had my private iron museum of items collected from around the world over many years, but I had always said that when I turned 65, I would go to the museum and work as a volunteer helping out with maintenance and whatever else I could do that was useful."
He was asked to join, and within three years was invited to be chair.
One of his first actions was to formalise the committee's meeting procedures.
"I introduced an agenda and minute taking. I wanted to make it more professional and accountable."
He also helped select the current curator Jana Uhlirova, who with a Masters in Museology was a rare find and continues to hold the position today.
Under his watch the building was cleaned and painted, but the most significant change was the renovation of the hall into a purpose-built facility for local and touring exhibitions and functions.
"This space had been a complete dungeon, it was dark and cold in winter and hot in summer – you could hear every truck that passed by.
"I asked around about what would be needed to upgrade it to meet the requirements for exhibitions – it needed insulation, and temperature and humidity control among other things."
Fundraising efforts followed and a door was positioned on the hall which would allow for building to be expanded in the future.
He is proud to have been part of the museum, which he says people are very positive about.
Museum patron Charles Nairn says Hans has served the museum committee well with his "boundless enthusiasm and dedication".
"His energy and drive secured the funds that paid for the McCleary Exhibition Hall to be lined and temperature controlled, such that sensitive artefacts can now be safely exhibited.
"Exhibitions such as Nga Taonga o Tamatea – Te Hokianga Mai, and World War 1 and 2 Soldiers' Histories were particularly popular and successful displays in that space.
"As patron for the last seven years, I have enjoyed working with Hans – he will be a hard act to follow".
The museum committee is always looking for volunteers who would like to join and contribute to this special CHB facility. Anybody interested should contact phone (06) 857 7288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.