A large North Island iwi has given the thumbs up for oil and gas exploration around Dannevirke - provided there's no harm to the environment.
The Government is preparing to issue permits to companies who want to search for natural resources, opening up several new areas on and off shore.
One block being offered is on land around Dannevirke, falling within the territory of Ngati Kahungunu.
Leader Ngahiwi Tomoana said if there are oil and gas reserves in the tribe's rohe, the iwi wanted to be involved.
But he said under his people's kaitiaki role, environmental safety was paramount.
The Government is also urging prospecting firms to bid for the right to explore a vast chunk of the West Coast.
Local Ngai Tahu tribal council - Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae - said it did not have too many concerns.
It had had good communication and consultation with the Government about the block offer and would work with any permit holder on where they should and should not look for oil and gas.