The Taranaki peace settlement of Parihaka has been spared in government plans for more onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration.
Companies are being urged to bid for permits to conduct searches, including on land around Dannevirke and on the West Coast.
Energy Minister Simon Bridges says iwi and hapu have been consulted, and the Government had ensured some sites with obvious historical and cultural interest, such as Parihaka, are not touched.
Mr Bridges says the surface of the country's oil and gas potential has barely been scratched; the Taranaki petroleum basin has made money but 17 other regions are under-explored.
Permits will be awarded at the end of the year.