A dawn ceremony was held in Wellington on Sunday to officially open an $11.5 million wharewaka (canoe house).
The building at Taranaki Wharf has been two decades in the making. It is intended as the centre piece for the Rugby World Cup fan zone in the capital.
But missing from the opening ceremony was Te Raukura, the city's waka, which Waiwhetu Maori from the Hutt Valley are refusing to release after restoration and storage.
However, Sir Ngatata Love said the absence of Te Raukura did not overshadow the ceremony, which was attended by about 500 people.
Te Raukura was commissioned and paid for by Wellington City Council.