The Brazilian oil company soon to begin exploring for gas and oil off East Cape appears to have improved its safety and environment record in the last decade.
Several hundred people protested around East Cape on Sunday against Petrobras and to highlight its poor safety record.
The company has been responsible for at least 53 deaths since 1984 and has caused six major oil spills around Brazil.
In the worst disaster, in 2001, an oil platform exploded and sank killing 11 workers.
Since then, Petrobras has invested billions of dollars in safety systems and has had no more major incidents.
The New Zealand Petroleum Exploration and Production Association says no company as big as Petrobras could avoid problems from time to time.