By Don Farmer
The tightening up of funding for Aratoi were described by departing director Alice Hutchison as being “the primary motivator” leading to her resignation.
Ms Hutchison described the cuts as “dramatic” and said they had ramifications on the organisation as a whole.
She was supported in her view by Aratoi Board chairman Frazer Mailman who said the pull-back on funding, largely brought about by Lands Trust Masterton cutting its grants programme, impacted on the “whole of Aratoi, full stop”.
Ms Hutchison tendered her resignation on Tuesday almost three years to the day from taking over as Aratoi director, and will officially quit the role on October 31.
She said she was “working on other things, including a project in Italy”.
Mr Mailman said Ms Hutchison’s resignation was “regrettable” in that she had achieved many positive things and had been extremely skilled in securing funding for projects which meant Aratoi had scored major exhibitions.
She had succeeded in improving the profile of Aratoi throughout the country and abroad, he said.
“She will be a loss to the staff and the board and it will be the board’s role to act quickly to replace her,” Mr Mailman said.
He said Ms Hutchison’s resignation letter had no hint of any dissatisfaction with Aratoi itself.
“She spoke warmly of Aratoi and of the opportunities she has had while director.”
Financial cut-backs had meant the Aratoi Board, Masterton District Council and Lands Trust Masterton were only in a position to have a one-year service agreement.
“That would certainly have impacted on Alice’s decision to resign” Mr Mailman said.
He said the board would review the “shape” of its staffing going forward and a plan would have to be implemented to work inside the financial boundaries.