Pyramid pickle has finally been sorted

    The Southland Museum & Art Gallery building. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

    DONE and dusted.

    After a year of reports, discussions and concerns, the Southland Museum & Art Gallery board has officially accepted the ownership of the pyramid building belonging to the Invercargill City Council.

    Board members received during a meeting on Thursday a report by museum and heritage services manager Wayne Marriott, who researched all trust minutes since 1940 about the matter.

    The confusion started in February, when ICC chief executive Clare Hadley advised the board she had received legal advice saying the museum building was, in fact, owned by the city council.

    At the time, the board was surprised, and requested evidence.

    At a June meeting, the board decided to not contest the ownership, but six months later, board member and Friends of the Museum representative trustee Christine Henderson raised concerns again about the matter, saying she was worried other parties from the Southland community would not able to have their say in discussion about the future of the building.

    After more than a year, board members yesterday accepted the recommendation of the report that they were “satisfied that the ownership of the collective buildings belongs with Invercargill City Council.”

    The clear word using in all documents was “vested”. When the building opened, the trust assumed responsibility for the interior, while the council had the structure of the building vested with them, Mr Marriott said.

    “All documentation collected clearly states there was never a handover of the building to the museum trust board.”

    Member Roger Eagles highlighted a part in his report which stated that, in 1994, the fixed assets and the building were included on the balance sheet of the trust.

    He was worried as both entities could not claim the buildings as assets at the same time.

    Mr Marriott said he was unable to answer that but could confirm from that date the building appeared “at the book” of the trust.

    He would request clarification from the council’s finance team, he said.

    Chairman Darren Ludlow said both organisations were audited by the office of the Auditor-General.

    “They would pick up on that.”

    The recommendation was unanimously approved.