National Certificate in Museum Practice trainee – Solema To’a

National Services Te Paerangi’s Administration Officer Solema To’a completed the National Certificate in Museum Practice (Level 4) qualification as part of her internship with Te Papa.

Solema comes from a family of artists and builders which influenced her passion for both the visual arts and architecture. She says that art has always been a significant part of her life: “This is a good thing if you’re an artist, which sadly I am not,” she explains.

Solema To'a
Solema To'a

“The next best thing I could think of to accommodate my love of art was to join a sector that helps to encourage, perpetuate and become kaitiaki of artistic forms, stories of people and traditions of place.”

While completing post-graduate studies in Religion at Victoria University of Wellington Solema volunteered with Te Papa’s National Services Te Paerangi as an intern for a year, which “was a perfect way to introduce myself into the inner workings of a museum,” she says.

“As part of my internship, NSTP offered me the chance to do the National Certificate in Museum Practice qualification through ServiceIQ. Having had no previous museum experience, this was something that I knew I would benefit from. The unit standards gave you a good balance of theory to practical, and the benefit of establishing a good all-round foundation in museum work from collections, through to public programming and visitor experience.”

Solema was one of approximately 90 trainees from a wide range of organisations who participated in the National Certificate in Museum Practice in 2013. “We’ve had interest from small, one person museums to large urban museums, art galleries and anywhere that displays artefacts and interacts with the community around heritage,” says Matthew Davis, Training Advisor at ServiceIQ.

“Through my time doing the qualification, I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from others in the museum,” says Solema. “I have also helped to create a public programme, as well as implement different collection management, curatorial and conservation practices.

Having completed the certificate in 2013, Solema now splits her working week between two organisations. As well as supporting National Services Te Paerangi in the role of Administration Officer, she works at the New Zealand Police Museum as Front of House Officer.

“If you are new to the museum sector, I would recommend the qualification as a way to gain invaluable knowledge to build a foundation for further learning. Even if you have been in the sector for some time, it is a great way to revisit the basics, which is what good foundations are built upon.”

Are you interested in the National Certificate of Museum Practice?  Find out more on ServiceIQ’s website.  You can also contact Victoria Esson, Manager National Services Te Paerangi on or call our freephone helpline 0508 NSTP HELP (0508 678 743).