My latest book, OFF THE RAILS – The Taumarunui Museum Trust UNMASKED!! has now been released. I summarise the book, its contents and the circumstances surrounding its release. Enjoy.
My investigations found systemic management issues which I called “a cesspit of perpetual dysfunction & self interest”. Strong words but a damningly accurate summary of the disgrace that the various leaders over the years brought into the King Country.
Lockouts, legal conflicts, politics and long-term abuse and mistreatment of the central character have all been part of the story. On the back blurb I write:
Taumarunui’s Memory Bank sold in 2018, thus ending
three decades of drama.
What actually happened during those 30 years and where
has the money gone? More importantly where are those
tens of thousands of precious memories bequeathed to the
Museum Trust for safe-keeping? Following an investigation
into macabre historical events, Dennis answers these
questions and explains the creation of (and transition to)
KCET with a large Appendix of the key documents.
How has the King Country historian Ron Cooke weathered
the turbulence of multiple court cases, lock outs, politics
and drama surrounding his life’s work and brainchild? In
“Cookie’s Corner” we hear his answers in the founder’s
own words – short and to the point.
OFF THE RAILS is a mixture of history and human
intrigue . . . A truly humbling and motivational story!
It is all of that and more with almost half the book containing the source documents, a court order, trust deeds, communications between key players and revealing transcripts of a critical meeting.
I launched the book at a public meeting held by KCET in which I gave the Taumarunui people an opportunity to hear me. meet me and get a taste of my style. The meeting was billed to answer three questions and I worked my way through the book summarising my findings. I found it interesting that the attendees were notably divided into those who ran (or had run) the Taumarunui Museum Trust or those who were actively supporting Cookie, my business partner and the historian. Thus the meeting was quite polarised in its attendees, however little opportunity was given for dispute.
I specifically stated that all questions and feedback would be IN WRITING and gave forms and pens to all attendees so that any division within the community was left at the door, or handled professionally. I also sought to minimise personal insults on the night although one vested interest ignored the rules and couldn’t help make fool of himself with a meaningless statement totally unrelated to the subject matter being covered!
In the book I explain the background to the creation of KCET and give copies of all communications to the incumbent trust including a Whitepaper that I supplied to the TMT Chairman Weston Kirton in December 2018. I believe and said this on the night that this was withheld from the TMT Trustees for quite some time and that the panic in their midst as a result of our approach is evident in subsequent events . . . ludicrous claims and contradictory statements galore given to different people at different times.
One thing I deliberately did NOT do was to talk about the future that KCET is planning. I did this so that nobody could or would ever in the future claim that as an outsider, and relative newcomer to the King Country I or we had ever promised anything and not delivered. Instead on the night and in the book I spoke only about my findings as a result of reading hundreds of, (if not a thousand) documents and interviewing the key players involved.
My friend and partner Ron Cooke and I feel that the job is now done; the new Trust is established, operating and on the board within a record (even ‘miraculous’) timeframe and we can now get on with life doing what we were both designed to do. Like walking out of a funeral service, you feel different, able to let bygones be bygones and that we have a life to live ahead of us.
This is my 27th book, with the 28th almost ready for publication too, so it’s been a pretty productive Christmas this year. It was an unexpected and unplanned venture but I think that it has shaped up pretty well . . . even if I do say so myself. It certainly summarises a difficult period in the historian’s life and brings quite a bit of light onto the workings of a pretty secretive organisation that has caused all manner of trauma for many in the last few decades.
Copies can be obtained from myself or Ron Cooke. It is 218 pages in A4, perfect bound format and retails for $40.00. ISBN:978-0-9941427-6-4