Parihaka Pa in South Taranaki has been left off drilling maps, but it now finds itself surrounded by areas open to energy exploration.

Climate Justice Taranaki spokesman and Parihaka resident Urs Signer said the 405,000sq km of land and sea offered up to oil and gas companies across a large swathe of Taranaki was "digging the planet's grave".

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has offered up for tender blocks that include 55,000sq km of offshore area in the Taranaki Basin and 1200sq km of land across Taranaki, adding to blocks already made available.

He said New Zealand had "barely scratched the surface of our potential" with regards to oil and gas.


"If just one more of our 18 basins was opened for production, like Taranaki, it would be an economic game-changer for our nation."

The area opened up for drilling includes a new block from Hawera to Patea.

Mr Signer noted the timing: "Just two days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reiterated once again that climate change is a reality for communities across the globe, Simon Bridges commits his government to crimes against the planet.

"Unless New Zealand deals with its fossil-fuel addiction and stops the extraction of gas and coal, we are virtually digging our planet's grave."

NZ Petroleum and Minerals said it removed Parihaka Pa from the blocks, "recognising its importance to the Taranaki iwi".

Mr Signer said "communities, hapu and iwi from the far north to the deep south are united in our opposition to the fossil-fuel agenda".

"Instead, we favour energy reduction and renewable energy for a sustainable and just future for all."

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop has welcomed the expansion, saying Mr Bridges' announcement was good news.

"There are benefits that flow into our community from this activity. The bigger benefits come if they find some oil and gas, and given the high success rate in Taranaki there is always a good chance that they will find something." Eight separate areas have been opened up, three onshore and five offshore.

The onshore areas include parts of the West Coast of the South Island, the East Coast of the North Island, and parts of Taranaki, including the land around Patea and Hawera.

Bids close on September 25 and permits will be granted between December 2014 and March 2015.

Last year Norway's Statol and Australia's Woodside Petroleum took exploration acreage. Statol's is in the Northland-Reinga Basin.

Texan company Anadarko drilled two deep-sea exploratory wells during summer. Its offshore Taranaki well was plugged and abandoned, and it elected not to drill a second well in the Canterbury Basin.