Names weren’t needed. Alf knew immediately which one was involved when he spotted the headline: Deputy quits after clash at museum.
He was right. It was the Auckland Museum. And yep – the story revealed yet another contretemps involving its director, Vanda Vitali. The woman has a remarkable flair for whipping up trouble.
This time –
The deputy director of Auckland Museum resigned six months into the job because of a falling-out with his boss, Vanda Vitali.
Tim Walker was the director of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt for 10 years, before joining Auckland Museum in August last year.
He left in January.
The experienced curator is now working as an arts consultant and was a speaker at a Creative New Zealand conference this week.
Mr Walker, who has also held senior roles at the National Art Gallery and Te Papa national museum, declined to comment about the reasons he left the Auckland Museum so quickly.
But the Weekend Herald has learned he resigned after disagreements with Dr Vitali over the future direction of the museum.
Dr Vitali is on annual leave and could not be reached for comment.
The Herald points out that the swift “disappearance” of Walker is the latest in a string of controversies involving Dr Vitali, who was appointed museum director in September 2007.
The article proceeds to list incidents such as –
* The restructuring that left 46 personnel, many of them long-serving and senior staff, without jobs;
* The run-in with disgruntled Bomber Command veterans from World War II, who were refused space for a memorial inside the museum; and
* The dispute with Sir Edmund Hillary’s offspring over the control of his writings, old diaries and thousands of family photographs bequeathed to the museum in his will.
Curiously, despite this dubious track record, Vitali has strong backing from the Auckland Museum Trust Board.
Perhaps they appreciate the publicity she has attracted for their institution.