Puke Ariki boss resigns

Haere ra: Puke Ariki's high-profile boss Fiona Emberton has quit.
Haere ra: Puke Ariki's high-profile boss Fiona Emberton has quit.

Puke Ariki's high-profile boss has quit after a little more than a year in the job.

Fiona Emberton was welcomed to her role as head of New Plymouth's library and museum by more than 100 people, including dignitaries and Puke Ariki staff, in August last year.

Her appointment followed an international search to replace former manager Bill Macnaught who left to take up a position as the director of the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington.

The Taranaki Daily News understands that Ms Emberton had been on sick leave for more than a month.

Staff were told of her resignation yesterday.

Earlier in the week the Daily News asked New Plymouth District Council community services general manager Cathy Thurston why Ms Emberton was on sick leave and when was she returning to work.

The questions were not answered.

Yesterday, in an email, Ms Thurston wrote: "In response to your inquiry Fiona Emberton has advised me of her resignation to pursue other opportunities. We wish her all the best."

The Daily News began asking questions about Ms Emberton's absence this week because of information it received that she had "fallen out" with a manager at the council and was "probably not coming back".

Ms Thurston would not discuss what made Ms Emberton leave other than to say her resignation was effective immediately and Kelvin Day was the acting manager of Puke Ariki.

Ms Emberton has not answered calls or responded to messages despite her office saying on Monday they were expecting her back next week.

On Tuesday one Puke Ariki staff member who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity, said they thought Ms Emberton had taken time off because she was suffering from a severe repetitive strain injury.

Of Scottish heritage, Ms Emberton moved to New Plymouth in August last year with her husband.

She had spent the previous 18 years in Australia where she worked for the Brisbane City Council and more recently ran her own business and management development company Embervision.

When Ms Emberton was given the job at Puke Ariki in July last year Ms Thurston said there had been considerable interest from around the world in the position.

"Fiona has a great commitment to customer service, a lot of energy and motivation, and a high degree of professionalism," Ms Thurston said.

"She comes with a wealth of experience in the retail, library and museum sectors, and her consultancy roles in the UK, Australia and New Zealand have exposed her to a wide range of services from which Puke Ariki can only benefit."

Taranaki Daily News