A group of 10 Malaysians travelling as part of a tour group tried to smuggle about $10 million worth of methamphetamine in through Auckland International Airport in their shoes yesterday.

Customs made the bust after stopping two members of a Malaysian tour group who arrived at the airport at midday on Tuesday.

They were found to be carrying methamphetamine, or P, in their shoes after being questioned and searched.

The rest of the group was tracked down by Customs officers and airport Police.

Some were still in the Customs hall and some had escaped the airport.

All were revealed to be carrying between 800g and 1kg of P in their shoes. The current street value of P is approximately $1 million per kilo.

Eight men and two women aged between their early 20s and late 60s were arrested by police drug squad detectives and appeared in Manukau District Court today.

Customs drug investigations manager Mark Day said the bust involved the biggest number of drug couriers ever caught in a single incident at the New Zealand border.

He said immigration officers had delayed the group by closely questioning two of the party.

"By embedding themselves in what appear to be legitimate tour groups, these criminals are trying to assume normal travel patterns so that they will not be targeted as high risk," he said.

"We had a similar attempt by a Taiwanese tour group last year, but they too were caught out by vigilant Customs officers. It's work our officers can be very proud of."

Customs minister Maurice Williamson said it was a landmark interception.

"I'm very proud of the effort made by well trained officers at the border in stopping this much of such a vile drug getting into the community here," he said. "Our diligent Customs officers have again proved, if you bring drugs into our country, you will get caught."

- NZ Herald staff