The eastern Bay of Plenty tribe, Te Whanau a Apanui, says the iwi expected Petrobras to pull out of exploration off the east coast, because of their faith.
It was announced on Tuesday that the oil company is handing back to the Government its petroleum exploration permit for the Raukumara Basin, which it was awarded in 2010.
Te Whanau a Apanui is opposed to deep sea oil drilling in what they say is their backyard.
Robert Ruha says the people of his tribe are a very spiritual people who held a lot of faith in their prayers.
He says the gods have shown favour on the iwi's prayers.
Mr Ruha says for the past two years every prayer and sermon has featured a theme rejecting oil drilling in their rohe.