Maori iwi last night decided to officially complain to the United Nations over the Government's decision to allow a South American company to survey for oil off the East Cape.

Te Whanau a Apanui met legal teams and Greenpeace protesters to consider their options in response to the Orient Explorer, owned by Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, carrying out seismic testing in the Raukumara Basin under a five-year licence granted by the Government.

NZPA understands lawyers representing the iwi plan to take a legal case based on indigenous rights to the United Nations in response to the surveying.