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Okains Bay Museum Trust Board

The museum is governed by a trust board that meets bi-monthly. The board structure includes a representative of:

  • the Thacker family;
  • Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata;
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu;
  • Christchurch City Council;
  • Banks Peninsula representative:
  • Chair the museum’s Kāhui Korowai (advisory committee).

Most of the museum’s projects are carried out by museum staff with volunteer labour. Specialists skills are brought in on a contract basis.

The museum is also served by a Patron, longstanding former board member, Nigel Hampton QC.

The Kāhui Korowai, a special advisory group of volunteers who provide invaluable advice and support to the board.

Helen Brown

Chair and Trustee - Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representative

Helen Brown (Ngāi Tahu) is Kairangahau Matua Tiaki Taonga (Senior Researcher Archives) at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She is a researcher and writer with expertise in Māori heritage research, advocacy and management and works with Ngāi Tahu iwi, hapū, whānau and Kaitiaki Papatipu Rūnanga on Māori heritage projects. Helen has an MA in history and degrees in Museum Studies and English Literature. She has a holiday home at Okains Bay and has been involved with the Museum as a volunteer, Secretary and Board member. In 2015 Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu appointed Helen as their representative on the Board.

Tyrone Fields

Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula Community Board Representative

After a successful career as a financial analyst and social worker, Tyrone was elected in 2018 to the Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula Community Board. His family has lived on Banks Peninsula for generations.

Tyrone brings these skills into local government, where he works towards the betterment of our harbour, parks and streets, and ensuring that public facilities are kept in public hands.

Michael Laing

Trustee & Treasurer

Michael Laing Joined the Board in April 2019. Mike studied at Lincoln University in the early nineties and has never left the Canterbury region since. He is currently the Managing Director of Kendons Business Advisors and Chartered Accountants in Christchurch. Mike has sat on a number of boards both commercial and not for profit in an advisory capacity and currently sits on the Oakland’s Primary School Board of Trustees. Raised on a farm near Gore, Mike has a range of sporting interests. These include squash, golf and water skiing with his wife and three teenage daughters.

Manaia Cunningham

Manaia Cunningham

Trustee - Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata Representative

Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga

Hailing from Te Runanga o Koukourārata, Manaia Cunningham’s passion for his iwi, health and the local environment has led to roles as a strategic advisor with Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council and as a representative for Ngāi Tahu on the board of Regenerate Christchurch.

He trained and taught as a teacher for a number of years before working for the Canterbury Regional Council as a Ngāi Tahu strategic advisor following the 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes.

Manaia has worked for the Council in the Chatham Islands as well as on the West Coast where he led the WCDHB work programme to initiate the West Coast National Bowel Screening Programme.

Manaia now works as a Principal Advisor Treaty Relationships at Christchurch City Council and continues his passion for traditional food growing systems as a project manager with Manaaki Whenua with respect to Māori land use to improve our environmental outcomes.

Sarah Murray

Trustee - Canterbury Museum Representative

Sarah Murray is Head of Collections and Research at Canterbury Museum where she is responsible for the curatorial, inventory and registration teams and the Museum’s volunteers. Sarah has been with the Museum since 2007 and has extensive experience in curatorial and collections roles as well as people management.

Sarah has an MA(Dis) and BA(Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka and is the author of several books and journal articles as well as an Adjunct Fellow in History at the University of Canterbury.

John Thacker

John Thacker

Trustee - Thacker Family Representative

John Thacker is a local farmer and businessman with deep family ties to Okains Bay and the Museum. He is the board representative for the Thacker Family.

Thung Chutrchaivech

Napat (Thung) Chutrchaivech

Board Intern

Thung’s journey with the museum began in 2020 when he joined as a volunteer. Over the years, his involvement has spanned a variety of museum activities, with a notable expertise in overseeing the forge in the smithy. His foundation in the world of museum and heritage was laid during his undergraduate studies in Anthropology and Māori and Indigenous Studies.

Thung’s dedication extends beyond the classroom, as he has gained valuable hands-on experience working with museums and galleries in Ōtautahi. His profound passion for history and heritage is a driving force behind his commitment to inspiring others in a lively and interactive manner.

When he’s not immersed in the world of museums, Thung enjoys learning about traditional craftsmanship, fashioning objects using time-honoured techniques. Additionally, he channels his creative energy into music and photography, further enriching his diverse set of talents and interests.

Nigel Hampton

Nigel Hampton 


Nigel Hampton CNZM OBE QC is a lawyer with extensive criminal law experience in New Zealand and overseas. He studied law at Canterbury University and in 1964 was awarded the Gold Medal for top graduate for the year. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in February 1965.

He became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1988, a Queen’s Counsel in 1989, and in 2018 was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to law.

Outside of law, Nigel’s interests and patronage extended to human rights, rugby and local history. Nigel is a former chair of Okains Bay Māori and Colonial Museum Trust and was made the Museum’s Patron in 2020.