A Northland fisherman who tipped police off to suspicious boaties on 90 Mile Beach which led to a record seizure of methamphetamine is fearful of gang retribution.

The Ahipara based man was on the beach at Shipwreck Bay, a popular surf spot, last Thursday when he went to the aid of some men struggling to launch a large boat off the beach.

A friend of the samaritan said his mate now feared there could be repercussions as he thought gangs would have to be involved in such a major drug importation.

"Yeah he's been at the police station being interviewed and is a bit worried about what could happen now," the friend said.


The men trying to launch kept telling the local fisherman they just wanted to spread ashes in the ocean off the bay.

"My mate told them they would have to get permission to do that and he got suspicious about what they were actually going to do."

He said his friend was a long time resident of Ahipara and the community were pleased the police had intercepted the record drug import.

"We don't want that stuff here and our families getting hurt."

It's believed the police were interviewing the fisherman again this morning.

Police found 448kg - worth $1million a kg - of meth in a campervan on Sunday after members of the public reported suspicious vehicles in the area, and people trying to launch boats at Ahipara.

Police had also stopped a Toyota Prado on 90 Mile Beach after it drove past while they were interviewing people about the suspicious behaviour.

Co-ordinates in a GPS device seized from the vehicle led police to sand dunes on the Hukatere region of 90 Mile Beach, close to where an abandoned boat linked to Sunday's meth haul had been found earlier.

Police dug into the sand and found a stash of bags full of methamphetamine weighing 46kg, taking the total amount recovered to 494kg - equal to $494 million worth.