A Gisborne councillor says it's refreshing that two Canadian oil and gas exploration companies, Apache and Tag Oil, are consulting people in the Gisborne region about their plans.
The two companies have several permits for seismic testing and drilling, one of them in the Whatatutu area north west of Gisborne - an area predominately populated by Maori.
On Tuesday evening, about 60 locals packed into the Mangatu marae to hear the companies' proposals.
Among them was Gisborne councillor Manu Caddie, who's been at the forefront of tangata whenua's opposition to ocean drilling for oil north of East Cape.
He says it was a productive meeting with technical representatives from both companies providing a lot of useful information.
But Mr Caddie says the companies made clear they aren't able to allay all the concerns locals have until they find out what's underground.
He says Apache and Tag Oil have committed to reporting back to the Whatatutu community on a monthly basis.