Collins shocked to be replaced on museum board

Long-serving Otago Museum Trust Board chairwoman Margaret Collins is "shocked and disappointed" she has been replaced as Clutha District Council representative on the board.

She will remain chairwoman at her last meeting of the board, on December 14.

Clutha district councillor Gaynor Finch (50) will replace her as Clutha representative at the board's annual meeting in February.

Mrs Collins has been a Balclutha-linked local government councillor for about 33 years.

She was voted on to the former Balclutha Borough Council in 1974, serving two terms as deputy mayor before becoming a councillor in the restructured Clutha District Council in 1989, and again serving as deputy mayor for a further two three-year terms.

She has been Clutha District Council representative on the museum board for the past 21 years, continuing as the council's representative despite not having stood for re-election as a Clutha councillor in 2007.

Mrs Collins said she attended a meeting of the Clutha District Council last Thursday and had hoped to be reappointed as the council's representative, but Cr Finch had been chosen instead.

Mrs Collins was "shocked and disappointed" at the outcome, but noted the council had emphasised no personal criticism was intended and her work for the council had been much appreciated.

The council wanted to be represented by an elected member, given its significant financial support for the museum.

Mrs Collins remained proud of her work on the board, and denied any claimed "disquiet" had been expressed by board members behind the scenes.

Clutha had benefited from having a representative who also chaired the museum board.

The museum was a "hugely exciting" institution, and highlights included the museum's redevelopment.

She was pleased relationships between the Otago Museum and Te Papa had improved and that success had also been achieved over safeguarding the future of the museum's Oldham Collection.

She hoped the museum's liaison service with district museums could be reinstated, if appropriate central funding could be obtained.

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