A man wanted over a Queenstown stabbing was able to leave New Zealand on a plane but was nabbed entering Australia.

Police say the 20-year-old was picked up by Australian Federal Police after arriving in Australia at about 7pm on Monday.

A warrant had not been issued for his arrest until after he had boarded a plane leaving New Zealand, a police spokesman said.

Two men had to be flown to Dunedin Hospital, one with life-threatening injuries, after a brawl on Queenstown's Camp Street on Sunday morning.


Both were in a stable condition on today.

Police said they were working with Australian authorities to return the arrested man to New Zealand, but could not provide a timeframe.

They are also speaking to another man over the "bottling" of another man during the fight.

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm said nearby security guards and members of the public had tried to break up two groups involved in the brawl.

"The investigation team has worked extremely hard over the past two days to get a resolution in this case," he said.

Officers had to administer first-aid at the scene to the critically injured man.

Malcolm said the type of offending was rare in Queenstown.

The Customs department referred questions to police.


Police Minister Stuart Nash declined to comment, saying he had not yet been briefed on the case and would be making inquiries.

"Obviously, we want to catch these guys before they head across Tasman but again I don't know the circumstances," he said.