Pacific Islanders have been warned not to fall prey to an alleged scam targeting overstayers being offered New Zealand citizenship in exchange for $1000.

One News reported last night that hundreds of Tongan overstayers have been invited to go to Waitangi on Saturday where they could get citizenship in exchange for $1000 from Ngapuhi iwi elder Kingi Taurua.

It quoted Mr Taurua as saying he was prepared to adopt them into his tribe.

But Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs said adoption into a hapu did not translate into citizenship, and collecting money for it was illegal.