A flotilla of boats will leave from Auckland this afternoon on a mission to show solidarity with an East Coast iwi.

Various groups are rising in support of Te Whanau a Apanui, which is against plans to explore and drill in the Raukumara Basin.

They fear a repeat of the disastrous BP Gulf of Mexico spill.

Greenpeace climate spokesman Steve Abel says anyone with a boat is welcome to join in - as long as they stick to maritime rules.

He is urging anyone who has a boat or even a seaworthy kayak, to put it in the water.

The iwi is against deep sea oil exploration and drilling in the Raukumara Basin.

Mr Abel says the iwi wants the support of the rest of the country.

He says nobody wants to see oil washing up on New Zealand beaches and coastlines, so a call has gone out to tell the big oil companies they are not welcome.