Nine illegal immigrants taken into police custody in Wairoa at the weekend will be deported.
Senior Sergeant Tony Bates of Wairoa police said the overstayers were discovered when one of his staff went to intervene in a fight in the town on Friday night.
"The officer was off-duty at the time he saw the incident happening and when he went up to the group and identified himself as a police officer, they all ran off."
Mr Bates said that raised the officer's suspicions and steps were taken to track down the individuals involved in the incident. "We subsequently found out that they were illegal immigrants.
"We took eight men and a woman into custody and handed them over to Immigration."
Mr Bates said they were mainly Chinese nationals, with one an Indian man.
"They had been in the country illegally for varying lengths of time."
The nine were all taken into custody without incident.
Immigration New Zealand spokesman Marc Piercey said the eight Chinese were all students, who had been studying in the district and working.
"Inquiries are ongoing into their activities in the district," Mr Piercey said.
"Two of the group have been deported already, and the remainder will be deported progressively in batches of two over the next few days."