East Coast Maori plan to take a complaint to the United Nations for not being consulted over the New Zealand Government's decision to award a permit for oil and gas exploration.
Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is conducting a survey of 12,000 square kilometres of seabed off East Cape determine if oil or gas are likely to be under the ocean floor in commercial quantities.
The company has a permit to conduct the search in the Raukumara Basin and a legal obligation to continue under the terms of an agreement with the New Zealand Government.
A legal representative for Te Whanau a Apanui, Dayle Takitimu, says the iwi has decided to go to a number of United Nations committees.
Ms Takitimu says its concerns include breaches of human rights, racial discrimination in property rights for Maori land, and the rights of indigenous people.