A Hong Kong national has been sentenced to 15 years and five months' jail for his role in the attempted smuggling of 176kg of methamphetamine into New Zealand.

Kai Yip Cheung, 20, was also told by Justice Simon Moore in the High Court in Auckland that he must serve at least nine years behind bars.

Cheung, who had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of importing methamphetamine, kept his head bowed during sentencing. He showed no emotion when Justice Moore delivered the sentence.