Auckland Council's tourism agency says it's taking time to develop a signature Maori event because it wants it to be as big as the NRL Auckland Nines.
ATEED, the tourism, events and economic development agency, has spent three years working on developing a Maori event for the city.
The Independent Maori Statutory Board said it was taking too long, and suggested the money was not being spent to get it done.
But ATEED chief executive Brett O'Reilly said the time was being well spent.
He said it had demonstrated with the Nines that it can win global awards for best new event, and it would be disappointing if it didn't match that aspiration for the Maori event.
Mr O'Reilly said he wanted a world class cultural attraction that reflected the city's Maori and Pacific Island heritage.