A meeting at Aratoi's Wesley Wing last Saturday afternoon did not go as planned.
More than 80 people attended the meeting, which was called by the Friends of Aratoi committee to explain What on earth is going on at Aratoi - Wairarapa Museum of art and history?
Those arriving were given a "timeline" said to outline events at Aratoi from August 2011 until now.
From before the start things did not go exactly as planned - a question-and-answer session based on the 28 timeline statements that would be answered by Friends' committee members.
Also there with handouts was Brent Goodwin, former councillor and long-time critic of the previous Aratoi board's performance.
Gavin McLachlan, who chaired the Friends' meeting, later complained that it had been hijacked by the board and its supporters.
The meeting itself did not start as planned when Friends' member Chris Horrocks took the floor to ask why he had not received an invitation to the meeting.
Subsequently, a show of hands indicated about a third of those present, including board members, all paid-up members of the Friends, had not been invited.
Friends' president Penny Bunny apologised, saying she had been away when the invitations were sent out.
Mr McLachlan then asked Friends' secretary Stephanie Kirby to explain the structure of the electoral college that appoints the members of the Aratoi board.
Before her explanation was finished several Friends' members were demanding the opportunity to speak.
Dr Aage Terpstra asked - as did other speakers - whether the Friends' committee had at any stage consulted its membership about its decision to publicly attack the board.
There was a more dramatic turn in events when Friends' member Anne Atkinson produced a letter to the Friends' committee calling for a special meeting where a motion would be put to dissolve the existing Friends' committee and elect a new one, with prospective members having pledged to work 'fully and co- operatively' with the Aratoi board.
It was signed by more than 30 members, double the number required. Penny Bunny gave the meeting an assurance that action would be taken within the 21 days specified in the constitution.
John Heginbotham submitted a motion from Dr Own Prior, whose family had been major benefactors of Aratoi and its predecessor organisation, asking for Allen Hair's resignation from the Friends' committee. Dr Prior, who could not be present because of family illness, thanked Mr Hair for his long involvement with Aratoi but said it was time for it to end. The motion noted 'that no amicable solutions can be achieved at Aratoi until this happens'. Mr McLachlan did not accept the motion.
The chairman asked Paul Melser to explain, from his perspective, his dismissal from the Aratoi board. There were also several expressions of concern about the effects of events on staff and others said they were confused by the contradictory points of view expressed.
Three members of the present board spoke, including Ian Grant who stressed the harm the very public squabbling was causing Aratoi at a time when economic conditions and a changing local government landscape would put more pressure on Aratoi's funding.
He asked Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell, as chairman of the electoral college, to insist that the board and Friends' committee sit down and agree on a memorandum of understanding.
- Wairarapa News