Sharon Dell has had a long career in the management of heritage collections. With an academic background in New Zealand and Pacific history, anthropology and geography she started her career at the Alexander Turnbull Library in 1974. She worked in the reference team and then with the manuscripts and archives collections. She was Maori Materials Subject Specialist for six or seven years before becoming Keeper of Collections and Assistant Chief Librarian. From 1995 to 2008 she was the Director of the Whanganui Regional Museum where she oversaw the development of 2000m2 of new collection storage space and the introduction of a two house bicultural governance model. In 2008 the opportunity to manage a national documentary heritage collection lured her to Dunedin to become Hocken Librarian at the University of Otago.