In previous posts I have warned the public over the troubled Taumarunui Museum Trust and explained how their conduct in evicting local historian Ron Cooke from the Memory Bank has invited litigation. In my book OFF THE RAILS, The Taumarunui Museum Trust UNMASKED!! I described this organisation a cesspit of dysfunction and self-interest. I now demonstrate the attitude that exists towards compliance, naming the people responsible and [as always] passing comment.
All registered charitable organisations in New Zealand are required to file annual returns to Charities Services and to comply with basic reporting requirements – update the Charities Services people within 3 months of any change, sort of thing.
A pretty simple and easy thing to do, I would have thought.
You can see the originals above by slipping along to the Charities website and searching for “Taumarunui Museum” or to see the entity that was struck off: https://www.register.charities.govt.nz/Charity/CC45030 or the one about to be struck off: https://www.register.charities.govt.nz/Charity/CC52689 . Then click on Annual Accounts to see the gory details, well the absence of gory details.
The Taumarunui Museum Trust however appear to think that they are above the law . . .
- In the last ten years they have only filed four annual reports (incredibly, that’s six entire annual returns from the last 10 years that simply aren’t there!)
- Every return that has been filed has been filed late, and not just a few weeks or even a month or two late, considerably late – even up to 18 months late!
- They have been struck off the Register once for not filing any return for two years in a row  and are about to be struck off again for the same thing four years later in 2019!
- They sold The Memory Bank on 16 October 2018 but a year later still haven’t bothered to inform Charities Services of their change of address.
- They reconstituted on 1 May 2019, yet are still [apparently, according to the Charities Services records anyway] operating under their old (and out of date anyway) 1989 Trust Deed, because . . . they haven’t informed Charities Services of that ‘minor’ detail either!
These are big repeating mistakes, year after year. This is not just one little slip up . . . which really makes them look like a bunch of turkeys, Yes? Normal people make some effort to comply with the law and most people will learn from their mistakes. Not these lot, it seems.
So to understand the mechanics of what has happened here, just so there is no misunderstanding and to counter the inevitable poo-pooing of an investigative blogger’s ‘personal thoughts’ from vested interests that I predict:
- Charities Services sends six email reminders to the email address on record. Raewyn changed her email address a few years back and I can confirm that the address on record has always been correct. She received six emails every year – for sure.
- She gets [We all get] two reminders of an upcoming due date (which is a full six months after our balance date), one notice on the due date and three reminders after the due date, 1 month, 3 months and 5 months.
- After two years of no annual returns Charities Services sends a NOITR – a Notice of Intention to Remove the charity from the Register. We must respond by a certain date or else we get the chop. Simple, fair.
So let’s dive into who’s responsible . . . the Secretary (in this case the Secretary/Treasurer) is normally the person within an organisation likewho files the returns. Indeed, Raewyn West has had her details on file for the last 10 years or so. She though, can only operate as Secretary/Treasurer when there is support from the Board. I’m not privy to their internal wranglings but I’ve heard from more than one source that there is no love lost between the Chairman and the Secretary/Treasurer. Weston even told me himself that he wanted her replaced with another woman in the same industry, because she was a pain in the a*** to deal with. Hmmm, not good!
Ultimately though, the buck stops with the Chairman, in this case Weston Kirton. Weston’s style is well-known throughout the King Country. He was mayor for a couple of terms way back when and Sue Morris ‘took him out’ when the people actually wanted some action and were fed up with talk. He’s nakedly politically ambitious with all the signs of operating in a different world and a different approach to things from the rest of the world. I won’t go into the reasons why in this post, but the people who know him will know what I am alluding to.
The point of this post however is that compliance is not’s strength. The Board of this dysfunctional organisation lack vision, are reactive, dysfunctional and exhibit a high level of self-interest. They consider themselves above the law.
A long time ago I warned the public that things were going down with this organisation. Sadly this is only the tip of the iceberg and you can be assured that when, regarding litigation, their chairman says to an organisation that I represent, “Bring it on!” then I will oblige.
As I have referred to previously, he will, sadly get his wish. Why, oh why, do people deceive and want to fight all the time? I reckon it’s 100x easier just to play it straight and do the honourable thing. Sure we gotta eat humble pie on occasion but it’s a much better way to live . . . I would have thought?
I would note that I have delayed publication of this post until after voting of the local body elections. I do not want to either influence nor to be seen to influence politics. I leave that to the people who play it.
I would also note that I am not claiming fraud or dishonesty within the missing accounts. I simply don’t know. The dollar values are quite low for these guys, basically except for one year in which they did a personal project for one of the board members, their only income has been Ron Cooke’s rental and a few smallish grants. They’ll need to get their annual return(s) in pronto if they don’t want to get struck off a second time so that they are still registered charity – that’s assuming that they still want to carry on in business!