Our People

Our Executive Leadership Team

Dr Sarah Rusholme

Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive

After gaining her PhD, Dr Sarah Rusholme left the lab for an MSc in science communication and in 1998 joined the UK’s National Space Centre start-up team, leaving eight years later as their Director of Education and Exhibitions. 

Since arriving in New Zealand, Sarah has worked for the Marsden Fund at the Royal Society of New Zealand. She led the feasibility study for NZ’s Science Media Centre and became the Director of Carter Observatory in 2007, joining Experience Wellington in 2010. 

In her role as Head of Strategic Development, Sarah was responsible for Experience Wellington’s strategic planning, cross-organisation research initiatives, and projects that connect institutions across the organisation and city. In October 2016 Sarah moved into the role of Director Children & Young People, leading the Capital E team. Creativity is a huge part of Capital E, and initiatives such as children’s theatre, digital offerings and the National Arts Festival for Children grew significantly under Sarah’s leadership. 

In June 2020 Sarah was appointed Experience Wellington’s next Chief Executive. 

Elizabeth Caldwell

Te Ringa Auaha | Director Art and Heritage

Elizabeth brings over 20 years of experience in Aotearoa’s arts and cultural sector. 

Roles before her present position as Director Art & Heritage at Experience Wellington include Director City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, Director Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Senior Curator Visual Art and Collection Services at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Arts Adviser for Visual Art and Craft/Object Art at Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.  

Her academic qualifications include an M.A. (Hons.) Art History, Diploma of Secondary Teaching, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorial Studies.  

Elizabeth has served on the boards of arts organisations such as Artspace, the Physics Room and Adam Art Gallery.  She was an artist selection panelist for the Walters Art Award, University of Otago Frances Hodgkins Fellowship and has been on advisory committees for the Otago School of Art and Wellington Sculpture Trust. 

 

Judith Cooke

Te Kaea Ohuhu | Director Exhibitions & Project Delivery

 

Judith brings a strong background in arts and cultural project delivery. She has worked with prestigious institutions including, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Australia and was Director of an Australian regional gallery.  Judith prides herself in working behind the scenes to seamlessly deliver projects that educate, inform, entertain, and delight audiences.

She has helped manage Australian representation at the Venice and Sao Paolo Biennales and the Guggenheim Museum. At Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki she oversaw delivery for The 4th Auckland Triennial and Walters Prizes and supported its $121m redevelopment.  As Operations Manager at City Gallery, Judith, has overseen delivery of major exhibits such as Hilma af Klint; The Secret Paintings. She holds a BA Hons from the University of Sydney.

Justine McLisky

Te Tūhono Hāpori | Director Children, Young People & Community Engagement

Justine has over 25 years’ experience in learning and engagement across museums, galleries and cultural institutions. 

She encouraged a diverse range of audiences to access creativity, innovation and culture at City Gallery Wellington, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney.  For ten years, Justine was Head of Young People at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Then held the role of Head of Public Engagement at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki before returning to Pōneke to work at Experience Wellington in early 2021. 

Justine initiated a range of youth-led projects removing barriers for young people to participate in the arts. Justine originally trained as an artist and teacher and is a pioneer of the Aotearoa Open Decks Vinyl scene allowing anyone to become a DJ. 

Carolyn Mettrick

TeTuarāPākihi | Director Fundraising, Marketing and Communications

Carolyn has a strong background in fundraising, marketing and business development and is a firm believer that relationships are everything. 

 Joining Experience Wellington in November 2019, Carolyn is no stranger to the not-for-profit sector, previously working for Plunket as Head of Fundraising, Partnerships and Brand. Carolyn developed a diverse funding portfolio and established successful partnerships with well-known organisations. 

Prior to 2012, Carolyn worked in the private sector and spent several years at Loyalty New Zealand (Fly Buys). She is strategic, thinks big and is results-driven. A collaborator and connector, Carolyn is committed to championing the cultural assets Experience Wellington has on offer. 

Louise Saviker

TeKaitiaki Ahurea | Director People, Operations & Visitor Services

Louise has a background in the private sector and community organisations where she has held general management, marketing, customer service and human resource roles.  Her entire career has been in membership and customer service focused organisations. Louise has a Master of Human Resources and Organisational Development from Southern Cross University, Australia.    

Louise is passionate about building planned and systematic approaches to improving organisational effectiveness, primarily through people, services and systems.  She is committed to creating diverse, healthy and safe working environments. 

James Unwin

Te Kai-ahumoni | Director Finance & Commercial

James is a Chartered Accountant (FCA  ICAEW, CA NZICA) and a member of the Finance and Management Faculty of the English Institute. He joined the Trust in January 2016 and brings an extensive professional background in senior financerelated roles with Deloitte, Ernst & Young (now EY) and Westpac Banking Corporation.

James moved back to Wellington after several years in Hawkes Bay and Palmerston North where he was Chief Finance Officer for an innovative apple exporting company and previously, a chemical pump manufacturer.