Sione Napi Francis

Lead Curator, Te Pasifika Gallery Redevelopment, First Peoples Department

About me

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I am a Tongan Australian with ties to Aotearoa who grew up on Boon wurrung Country in Narrm/ Melbourne and work in the First Peoples Department as Lead Curator on the Te Pasifika Gallery Redevelopment Project at Melbourne Museum.

As museum professional, cultural leader and artist I am committed to serving First Peoples and Pacific First Nations through supporting open dialogues between communities, academics and cultural institutions. With over 25 years' experience, I have expertise in many varied and diverse areas, such as community consultation, collection management, curatorial research, exhibition development and implementation. My experience in many museums and galleries includes: eleven years at Museums Victoria, two years at ACCA and Monash Museum of Art and one year at the NGV. I have also worked in the private sector, working for POD Museum and Art services in addition to my own art practice and consultation services for twelve years.

I was a member of Museums Victoria’s Pacific Islands Advisory Group from 1997 to 2001, Brown Roots Arts Collective 2002 to 2003 and currently a member of the Pacific Advisory Group. I have been present and supportive during many community ceremonies including: tapu liftings and collection access tours over many years.

My current areas of interest are First Peoples co curating/ development models in cross disciplinary collections across the Pacific region. Also indigenous leadership and pathways in today’s museums: guiding principles and examples. A major focus of mine is First Nations representation in the Digital/ online area: looking at social interaction/ connections

Of particular importance to me is family and through this connecting and respecting our youth, customary knowledge holders and world view. Through my role as Lead Curator on the Te Pasifika Redevelopment Project our team is currently brokering relationships with diverse and underrepresented communities and opening dialogues with many social groups in all many regions and forums including social media. In the near future we will create a safe space for all communities, stakeholders and generations to share knowledge, culture and understanding through finding common ground in an exciting new forum for positive change.

I highly values museums, collections, research, education, broad work experience and a deep understanding of indigenous world views; and can see many points of connection and create space for those who need to speak; particularly customary knowledge holders. Particularly I value teams and service to broader communities and can listen as someone who has seen and done much for those around him.

"Through open dialogues we can honour relationships and safely reveal truths. Only then can we change hearts, change minds and move forward together. This is the role of the museum."


Bachelor of Fine Art, Victoria University

Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies


Projects and events

Current Projects

Lead Curator, Te Pasifika Redevelopment, Melbourne Museum


A place to stand, Gasworks Arts Park, 2017

Kava, RMIT Gallery, 2000

Committees Boards

Pacific Advisory Group, Melbourne Museum


Australian Association for Pacific Studies, AAPS

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