New Puke Ariki boss? Look local

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012
Opinion poll

Should the council appoint a local to run Puke Ariki, rather than look overseas?

Yes, a local would better understand the history and what people want.

No, it should be about the best person for the job, foreign or domestic.

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A Taranaki museum mastermind is calling for job vacancies to be filled closer to home in the wake of Puke Ariki's Scottish boss quitting after little more than a year.

Tawhiti Museum owner Nigel Ogle says the international appointment of former Puke Ariki manager Fiona Emberton made no sense when there were plenty of people in New Zealand just as capable.

The Taranaki Daily News understands Ms Emberton has been on sick leave for more than a month and staff were told on Wednesday she had resigned.

Mr Ogle says Taranaki people working their way up the ranks at Puke Ariki must be disappointed top jobs keep being filled by people from outside the region.

"There are people in Taranaki and other parts of the country that know the collection and history of the region inside out, but constantly miss out to people from outside of Puke Ariki.

"Kelvin Day, who is now acting manager, is a perfect example of someone that could easily do the job," he said.

"I haven't seen these international appointments offer anything special that justifies the effort or cost of recruiting them."

Mr Ogle says it comes down to the New Plymouth District Council having faith in the region's people. "This concept - that because they're from overseas they must be better, is just nonsense.

"Taranaki is the first place they should be looking and then wider in New Zealand, but it's just not happening," he said.

Ms Emberton has Scottish heritage and moved to New Plymouth to take up the post in August last year after working in Australia for the previous 18 months.

At the time Ms Emberton applied for the position the job was advertised internationally as having a base salary range of $109,000 to $128,000.

The recruitment process for her replacement has not been confirmed by the council but the salary range will be $113,000 to $133,000.

Ms Emberton has not answered calls or responded to messages from the Daily News.

New Plymouth District Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow says the shift in recruitment to online means managers jobs are always marketed internationally.

"We have international applications for most management jobs because we find a lot of people looking to move to New Zealand and Taranaki to work and live," she said.

After climbing the ranks from librarian to chief executive Mrs McKerrow says she is strong on succession in the workplace.

"More than 50 per cent of jobs through council are filled internally and there's no reason why the future Puke Ariki manager couldn't come from New Zealand," she said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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