Two Fijian nationals have been arrested after $17 million of methamphetamine was found on a boat that arrived in Tauranga.

The arrested men, both in their 30s, appeared in the Tauranga District Court on Wednesday afternoon.

They face charges for the importation and possession of a class A controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Drugs seized from the vessel. Photo / New Zealand Customs Service
Drugs seized from the vessel. Photo / New Zealand Customs Service

The 34kg of methamphetamine seized is worth up to $17 million.

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The vessel arrived in Tauranga from Fiji on November 18 and a subsequent search by Customs located the methamphetamine hidden in bags in various locations on board.

A large sum of money found on board has also been seized by Customs.

Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said the seizure was a reminder that Customs was active in seaports across the country.

Drugs seized from the vessel. Photo / New Zealand Customs Service
Drugs seized from the vessel. Photo / New Zealand Customs Service

"This vessel was identified as posing a potential risk before it arrived in New Zealand, and the seizure is the result of some very good work by Customs frontline officers in Tauranga - one of the main shipping hubs into New Zealand."

He said Customs maintain a presence at regional ports to defeat and deter smuggling activities.