A cruise ship passenger has been denied entry to New Zealand this week on "character grounds".

The Australian passenger was on board the Emerald Princess as it docked at Port Otago in Dunedin on Wednesday, but was met by a team of police officers and an Immigration New Zealand official.

"Immigration New Zealand [INZ] can confirm that an Australian cruise ship passenger was referred to us yesterday morning. After an interview the passenger was refused entry to New Zealand on character grounds," a spokesman said.

"For privacy and legal reasons INZ can make no further comment."

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The Emerald Princess is today cruising in Fiordland and will continue on its trip around the country.