Thousands of anti-deep sea oil drilling protesters made their message heard at a protest in central Auckland this afternoon.

An estimated 3000 people played drums, chanted slogans and held placards during the protest.

Greenpeace climate and energy spokesperson Steve Abel said deep sea drilling risks a catastrophic oil spill that could irreparably damage New Zealand's oceans, coasts, economy and way of life.

Mr Abel said the drums were a symbol of the harmful seismic blasts that were created by ships prospecting for oil in New Zealand.

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The blasts, which can be heard from over 100km away, are the first step of oil exploration, and involve a ship firing off repeated seismic booms from underwater airguns every few seconds, day and night.

"Even though the blasting is known to distress marine mammals, it's being carried out right now over huge tracts of ocean and very close to the habitat of the critically endangered Maui's Dolphin," Mr Abel said.

Niamh O'Flynn of 350 Aotearoa said the warnings of leading scientists around the world must be listened to.

"They're saying we must urgently move away from burning oil and towards clean energy if we want to reduce the extreme droughts, storms and food shortages that climate change is bringing."

The group of environmentalists, campaigners and Maori independence activists protested outside a major oil industry summit at the SkyCity convention centre.

Newstalk ZB reporter Michael Sergel said the protesters took over Federal St.

He said thousands of people were chanting "frack off".

The protest, a collaboration between Greenpeace New Zealand, 350 Aotearoa, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Oil Free Auckland, kicked off at midday today.

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The group heard speeches and performances at Victoria Park before marching to SkyCity, where the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit is taking place.

Summit attendees include Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, who the protest group said was expected to announce the Government's 2015 block offers for petroleum exploration.