Immigration New Zealand says nine Malaysian women have been stopped from boarding a flight from Kuala Lumpar to New Zealand in what is the largest operation of its sort.
It says the women were intending to travel around the South Island but could not give a proper explanation of their plans or show they had enough money to support themselves.
Officials acted after a suspected human trafficker and her husband tried to board a flight from Kuala Lumpar to Christchurch on Thursday.
The woman was prevented from boarding but her husband took the flight and was questioned by immigration staff upon landing.
This alerted officials to the group of nine women.
Immigration New Zealand staff say they still do not know why the group wanted to come to New Zealand, but the women were not being trafficked.