Aratoi under review

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 11:22 08/08/2012

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Months of infighting at Aratoi could finally be sorted with the appointment of an independent facilitator to assist in a review of the organisation.

The review will initially involve the Aratoi Regional Trust Board, the Friends of Aratoi and the Aratoi Foundation. It will begin this month.

In a joint statement, Aratoi Regional Trust acting chairman Frazer Mailman, Friends of Aratoi chairwoman Penny Bunny and Aratoi Foundation chairman Bob Francis said their organisations welcomed the opportunity to review and agree on their respective roles and foster collaborative relationships.

David Patten, a fellow of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand, has been appointed by the groups to facilitate the review. Mr Patten is widely experienced in advocacy and arbitration, particularly in rural communities.

The move is supported and funded by Lands Trust Masterton, the community-owned trust which owns the Aratoi land and buildings and provides Aratoi with annual funding and rent concessions valued at more than $240,000.

The review's terms of reference will be agreed by the parties involved and Mr Patten.

Lands Trust Masterton chairman Mr Sadler says all parties have expressed a desire to work through the facilitation process in good faith to bridge the gaps that have developed and improve communication with all stakeholders.

'We hope that with Mr Patten's assistance, members of the Aratoi community will be able to express their points of view and work to resolve issues of concern in an inclusive way. It is clear that all parties, including the Lands Trust, want to protect and enhance Aratoi's reputation as a valuable cultural asset for Wairarapa.'

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