An anti-smoking group has lost its taxpayer funding after audits revealed its director took a string of international jaunts.

Audits of Te Reo Marama found that international travel counted for a large chunk of the organisation's spending, and led to the Ministry of Health pulling $200,000 a year funding.

Te Reo Marama director Shane Kawenata Bradbrook said he was surprised at the ministry's decision - and that ministry cash was rarely used to pay for flights.

The Wellington-based group, which aims to help Maori stop smoking, is an independent organisation that receives funding from several sources, including the World Health Organisation.

On its website, it states: "Maori have a tradition of resistance within Aotearoa-New Zealand... Resisting the industry that profits from Maori illness and premature death continues that tradition of resistance."

The Ministry ended its contract with Te Reo Marama in June. Documents released under the Official Information Act show a 2007 Ministry of Health audit raised concerns about record keeping, but also stated that ministry funding had been "clearly identified and accounted for".

Public health group manager Warren Lindberg said the contract was terminated after "considerable concerns about its reporting and other management and governance issues".

"The Ministry of Health did not expect to be funding international travel," Lindberg said. "We made this clear to Te Reo Marama and they explained that they had not used our funds for this purpose. We were unable to verify that to our own satisfaction. This was... never able to be satisfactorily resolved."

Bradbrook said the ministry had never made clear rules around travel. "That's something they've never told us."

Since 1998 only three Te Reo Marama overseas trips were fully funded by the ministry, he said.