Grant Faber has resigned as chairman of Whangārei Art Museum Trust, which is responsible for building the Hundertwasser Art Centre.

The trust, a Whangārei District Council (WDC) controlled organisation although operated and governed independently, is building the $29 million art centre and its included Wairau Māori Art Gallery.

"This decision came after much consideration. With increasing commitments to the Outward Bound Trust, where I currently serve as vice-chairman, the workload across both roles has become unsustainable,'' Faber said.

He has served on the seven-member art museum board (WAMT) for six years, four of those as chairman.


"I look back over the time I have served on the board and see a period of significant achievement.

''Working alongside a truly passionate supporter network, staff and fellow trustees, WAMT has been able to increase public engagement in the arts and has doubled visitor numbers to the Whangārei Art Museum galleries,'' Faber said.

"The Hundertwasser Art Centre construction funds have been raised and construction is progressing on schedule. The transition of Whangarei Art Museum from a small regional gallery to a major five-gallery international art precinct is well under way."

Faber signalled in a recent article by Herald journalist Simon Wilson that he might resign if the trust did not get more support with the huge HAC project.

He was quoted saying he was ''in despair'' about the weight of the project on WAM trustees.

''It's a $29 million project. And we're required to do everything to get it built and to create a business there that's fully functioning from day one. But we're voluntary trustees. We can't do it all,'' he said.

The trust had met with Whangārei District mayor, Sheryl Mai, and chief executive, Rob Forlong, last week to discuss those matters. Faber's resignation was announced that day.

The meeting had concentrated on making sure the project could continue to flow smoothly, Mai said.


"We would like to thank Grant Faber for the contribution and sacrifices he has made to get the HAC project to this point,'' she and Forlong said in a joint statement.

''We were aware he was under considerable pressure and had a heavy workload, not just with HAC, but with his other commitments. We understand why he has made the decision he has and we support him fully.

''Large, creative and complex projects like this can be very demanding and taxing and we are very proud of the way that WAMT is making good progress towards the completion of this major community asset.

'' WDC supports this project both materially and in spirit and we continue to do so.''

Deputy chairman Thomas Biss will take over Faber's role.

"Seeing us through the successful fundraising process to now actually be building the Hundertwasser Art Centre is a great contribution and as a board we thank Grant for his service,'' Biss said.

Biss is a director of a prominent Whangarei legal practice.