Protesters made sure they were heard as they sang and chanted in objection to Norwegian oil giant Statoil.

The protest was held in objection to two closed workshops organised at the Northland Regional Council yesterday in Whangarei, aimed at providing councillors, the Te Tai Tokerau Maori Advisory Committee and senior staff with a clear view of the regulations governing petroleum exploration, as well as their plans in the Northland region.

Statoil has been granted two licences to explore for oil in the Te Reinga Basin.

Whangarei kaumatua Fred Tito stood outside the NRC building on Water St with about 120 other protesters.


He was worried about the environmental impacts the oil drilling would have on the Northland coast.

"It's to stand up and protest about this meeting, they don't talk to us. It's about protecting Mother Earth and looking at sustainable resources, ensuring our younger generation is looked after - they're who we should get our voice from," he said.

Signs were hung from the railway bridge reading "Hokianga says no to deep sea oil" and through song protesters urged Statoil to go home.

Brynjulv Klove, the oil giant's New Zealand manager, said there would be plenty of jobs created in the Far North if the company did find it commercially viable to drill off the coast.

But protesters said it was not about the money.

"The question is how many jobs? A lot would be from overseas. It's not about the money it's about looking after New Zealand," said Mr Tito.