The leader of a Tuhoe hapu has described as obscene the spending of millions of dollars on the iwi's new headquarters.
Te Whare Hou o Tuhoe was opened in Taneatua, near Whakatane, on Saturday. It will be home to 20 staff of the post-settlement entity Te Uru Taumatua, but most of the building will be used by the community as an archival centre, library, cafe and hall.
Robert Pouwhare, who chairs the Ngati Haka/Patuheuheu Trust, says elders in his subtribe are calling it obscene, considering that his poverty-stricken hapu is struggling with water and housing problems.
Mr Pouwhare says he's objecting to the expenditure "because it's $15 million and then it's going to cost further money for the upkeep, and we feel that the money could have been well spent in developing the facilities on all of the marae in the various valleys."
However, post-settlement trust chairperson Tamati Kruger says money is still set aside to help tribal members.
"The building in itself does not preclude all of the other priorities like health, education, roading, welfare," he says. "We have not put all of our money just on the building."
Mr Kruger says the $15 million project came in under budget by about $80,000.