Explorer Glass Earth says it has found "encouraging" signs of gold on the fringe of kiwifruit country south of Te Puke.
The company is part way through a $1 million drilling campaign on private land about 10km from the Bay of Plenty town.
Chief executive Simon Henderson said results from two holes had been assessed since exploration had been aggressively stepped up late last year.
It intended to drill in up to 20 places over a 2000ha to 3000ha area during the next few months.
High-grade signs were found near the surface.
"These results are very encouraging news for the project, and we are now moving to double-shifting on our rigs for the next holes," said Henderson.
The area being prospected is Massey Reef, part of the wider Muirs Reef prospect which produced 43,000 oz of gold until the 1930s.