8 Jun 2012

Maori sacred sites cut from oil and gas search

6:31 pm on 8 June 2012

The Crown has cut two areas from its proposed list of areas that can be searched for oil and gas following objections from Maori.

The Ministry of Economic Development is seeking bids from companies wanting to prospect in 23 onshore and offshore regions.

The original proposal was for 25 areas, but two Taranaki onshore blocks have been dropped for now because iwi have asked that whai tapu (sacred sites) be respected.

David Binnie, the general manager of the ministry's petroleum and minerals division, says the areas might be searched in the future.

The ministry is checking that the sites are recognised by regional councils.

Bids from exploration companies close on 15 October.