Greenpeace is calling on the Prime Minister to stand by her climate-change commitments and stop oil and gas exploration off the Taranaki coast.
It said the new government appeared to have granted the world's largest seismic exploration ship permission to begin exploration in an area known to be a blue whale feeding ground.
The Amazon Warrior arrived in New Zealand waters yesterday and Greenpeace said documents filed with the Department of Conservation indicate it had been given a permit to do a survey over summer.
Campaigner Kate Simcock said the prime minister still had the power to stop the survey going ahead.
"Jacinda Ardern has said that climate change is the nuclear-free issue of this generation and if she's really serious about that she needs to stop looking for more fossil fuels."
The organisation opposes the exploration, because it said burning any oil and gas discovered, would contribute to global warming.