Fruit fly larvae intercepted at Auckland Airport could have devastated the country's horticulture industry, Biosecurity New Zealand says.
The larvae was discovered in the luggage of a tour party leader from Malaysia last month.
It was found in chillies following x-ray screening and a caterpillar was also found in some garlic bulbs.
The intercepted larvae was believed to be of Malaysian fruit fly, which has invaded a number of Pacific islands.
The species attacks more than 60 types of fruit and vegetables.