Dr Marvin Hao Wu
PhD (Auckland), MA (UCL), BA (CNU)
Dr. Marvin Hao Wu is a full-time Research Programme Coordinator at the Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland (commenced March 2018). He is part of the Improving Research Support (IRiS) team, to ensure the effective operational planning, delivery and implementation of research projects and achievement of research key performance targets, and contribute to research planning and strategy at Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science. He was a PhD student in the Faculty of Arts from February 2014 to February 2018 under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Rankin (principal supervisor), Dr Ngarino Ellis (2nd supervisor), Professor Paul Clark (3rd supervisor), and Dr Claire Liu (statistical advisor).
Marvin received a BA in Heritage Management and Urban History (2010) from Capital Normal University in Beijing, and he followed this with an MA in Managing Archaeological Sites (2011), at University College London, where he was also awarded a long-term internship working at the British Museum. After he had completed his studies and internship in England in 2011, he was appointed to a position at the Palace Museum* in Beijing, first as a Visitor Experience Officer, then Manager, a position he held until he came to Auckland. It gave him wide experience in the running of a museum and the development and execution of research programmes. Marvin came to study for a doctorate at the University of Auckland at the beginning of 2014 with a strong background in practical museum experience and research programme management.
*The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, is the largest museum and the leading research institute in Asia.
Research | Current
Challenges in Cross-cultural Tourism: New Zealand Museums and Chinese Visitor Experience
This thesis explores Chinese museum visitorship in New Zealand. Recognising the importance of visitor studies in general and the challenges of cosmopolitan audiences in museums, the goal of this thesis is to understand why, when Chinese people have a passion for visiting museums and are keen to come to New Zealand, they are not visiting New Zealand museums in significant numbers, even though Chinese now constitute the second highest number of international tourists for New Zealand, outstripped only by Australia.
In order to investigate Chinese museum visitors’ experiences, case studies of four representative museums in New Zealand and China were undertaken: the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, the National Museum of China and the Palace Museum in Beijing. Questionnaire surveys and museum employee interviews, together with my own observations, provided data for comparative analysis. By comparing data from these museums, the aim was to discover Chinese preferences and understand their attitudes towards cultural curatorship, museum technology, language assistance, marketing strategies, and commercial services, which has not previously been undertaken.
Analysis revealed that Chinese visitors have a strong feeling that New Zealand museums do not make enough special provisions for them. This related particularly to problems of communication because New Zealand museum displays depend heavily on English (and occasionally Māori) texts. While Chinese people considered the Māori content potentially very interesting, and wanted to know about Pākehā-Māori historical relations, most had no effective way of understanding the information provided. They were also interested to see how Chinese people live New Zealand, particularly early settlers, but found little on this. Chinese visitors enjoyed the uncrowded environment and commercial facilities in New Zealand museums compared to those of China, and multimedia forms of exhibition which were easiest for them to understand. But, while they appreciated the use of innovative technology which gave them new learning experiences, they found it disappointing that it was not always accessible to people who could not easily understand English. Chinese museum visitors’ foremost concern was Chinese language assistance. Apart from the provision of Mandarin-speaking guides, the most effective language assistance was identified as multi-language audio guides like the Palace Museum ‘Explorer’ with automatically guided functions. The surveys also identified many smaller issues, such as food preferences, and clarified that the use of social media and the adaptation of technology would make New Zealand museums more accessible to Chinese.
Li, Y., Li, S., Chen, T., & Wu, H. (2013). Discard Behaviour Analysis - Is Discard a Meaningful Social Act? In D. Qin (Ed.), Archaeology and Artefact Studies. Beijing: Science and Education Press
Wu, H. (2012) Statement of Significance - Temple of Earth. Journal of Chinese Culture. 16(1). 22-24.
Wu, H. (2013) Exploring the Strategy of Tour Operator The Case of CAISSA Touristic Group. Journal of Chinese Tourism and Theories. 19(2), 19–23.
Wu, H. (2013) How to Balance of Potentially Conflicting Values in the Management of Archaeological Sites? Journal of Archaeology and Cultural Relics. 12(4), 93-95.
Professional Awards since March 2018:
2018 Dean’s Award for Professional Staff Excellence (Individual Award of Whai Hua: Excellent Service Delivery)
Marvin Hao Wu's PhD was financially supported by Faculty of Arts Doctoral Bursary, University of Auckland
Doctoral Research Grant:
2015 Auckland War Memorial Museum Nancy Bamford Research Grant, Auckland War Memorial Museum
2015 Faculty of Arts Doctoral Research Fund, University of Auckland
2015 School of Humanities Research Fund, University of Auckland
Marvin Hao Wu's doctoral research was offered official supports from four museums, namely Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Palace Museum, and National Museum of China. The questionnaire surveys, interviews and data analysis have been completed with the Museums. All of those research activities were fully covered by the aforementioned grants.
In October 2014, Marvin Hao Wu started his Research Assistant position for Professor Elizabeth Rankin in the project - 'Michael Shepherd’s New Zealand Icons: Reinventing History Painting' which is funded by General Faculty of Arts Research Development Fund, the University of Auckland.
Areas of expertise
Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis, Questionnaire Survey, Research Project Management, Museums and Tourism, Museum Visitor Experience, the Representation of Culture in Museum Practice, Tourist Behaviour and Experiences.
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Wu, H. (2018). Challenges in Cross-cultural Tourism: New Zealand Museums and Chinese Visitor Experience The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
By appointment, or pop by anytime.
Primary office location
ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 4, Room 404
14A SYMONDS ST