A French tourist has been caught in Paihia with 24kg of cocaine - worth up to $10.8 million.
Customs officers found the drug on the French national, 26, who was in the area as a passenger on a cruise ship.
The cocaine seizure is one of the largest in this country's history and the drug had a street value of $6.8m and $10.8m.
The tourist was charged with possession for supply of a class A drug, and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said the seizure was the result of liasing with police and Australian authorities.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"This is an example of trans-national crime syndicates attempting to use new routes to import drugs. Customs is aware of this. It doesn't matter if it's a cruise ship, a plane or container, we look for risk everywhere.
"Yesterday's seizure and arrest is a great example of partner agencies working together to disrupt transnational organised crime groups who are attempting to profit from a drug that would cause significant harm in our communities."
Further charges are likely.