A former journalist, screenwriter and film archivist has been appointed the new head of the Whanganui Regional Museum.

Frank Stark will start in his new role as director on March 1.

Mr Stark served as the chief executive of the New Zealand Film Archive for over 20 years, following work as arts editor and feature writer for The Listener, as well as time with the Arts Council and the Crafts Council.

During his time at the Film Archive he negotiated the successful merger of the Film Archive, RNZ Sound Archives and TVNZ Archives into Nga Taonga Sound and Vision, which wrapped up in 2014.


Under his direction the Film Archive gained national and international recognition for its regional access programmes, amateur film collection and a ground-breaking approach to the protection and sharing of films by and about Maori. It also undertook a number of major building projects, including its headquarters in central Wellington and a number of specialised storage facilities.

Mr Stark left Nga Taonga in early 2015 and spent the year being a full-time dad to his young daughter.

He was co-author and editor of the 2011 book, An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Film, and in 2014 he was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand for services to film heritage.

Mr Stark told the Wanganui Chronicle he was attracted to the directorship of the museum because of the challenges it faces in the future.

"There's a very big project in front of museum, and that's the earthquake strengthening. I'd like to find ways to reinvigorate the museum, to help it grow and change."

Currently based in Wellington, Mr Stark is looking forward to moving here with his partner and daughter.

"I'm really excited about the job. And I think Whanganui will be a great place for our little girl."

Marshall Tangaroa, chair of the Whanganui Regional Museum Trust, said he was delighted by the new appointment.

"We have gone through a vigorous and demanding process to make this important appointment, and I think we could not have found a better appointee than Frank Stark," Mr Tangaroa said.

Mr Stark replaces Eric Dorfman, who left the museum in July 2015.