An Auckland man on a rare charge of organising and promoting child sex tours to Southeast Asia covered his face from waiting photographers as he ran from court yesterday.

The 46-year-old, who has been granted name suppression, appeared in the Manukau District Court.

It was the first time a charge of organising a child sex tour had been laid against an individual in New Zealand.

He was granted bail and will appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow.

Police arrested the man on Friday after they swooped on addresses in Remuera and Mangere. It followed an eight-month undercover police and Customs investigation into the man's activities.

Police said he was preparing to leave for Thailand when he was arrested.

Police allege the man, whose occupation is listed as a "computer operator", "entered into dealings involving a person under the age of 18 for the purposes of the sexual exploitation of that person."

He is also alleged to have published information intended to promote sex with prostitutes outside New Zealand under 18 years of age.

He was also charged with making travel arrangements on behalf of an associate with the intention of facilitating a sexual offence.

The man had no previous convictions in New Zealand, the court was told.

Members of the Counties Manukau Child Protection Team searched the man's home on Friday.

The operation was co-ordinated by a specialist team called the Police Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) unit.

"The unit is working closely with other agencies and international partners to identify and track offenders involved in the online sexual exploitation of children in New Zealand and overseas," said OCEANZ head Detective Senior Sergeant John-Paul Michael.

"New Zealanders who think they can travel abroad to commit these horrendous offences against children can expect to be targeted and arrested."