Those behind the Hundertwasser Art Centre project have defended a research trip to Vienna for 11 people which cost just over $90,000.

Information released by Whangārei District Council under the Official Information Act showed the trust, a council controlled organisation, spent $91,168 on the trip in July last year.

Spokesman Greg Hay said the group included key personnel from the Hundertwasser Art Centre project - two from project management, four from the lead contractor, including two tilers and plasterers, as well as site manager and foreman, videographer, Hundertwasser Foundation NZ representative and a WAMT representative.

"This was a fact-finding and

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