New Zealand police say they have charged the Samoan mother of a girl born during an international flight for abandoning her baby on the plane.

Detective inspector Mark Gutry says the unnamed Samoan woman faces up to seven years in prison for abandonment under charges laid Wednesday, and the same term for allegedly failing to inform air officials her pregnancy was so advanced.

Cleaners found the baby in a toilet garbage bin on a Pacific Blue flight from Samoa to Auckland. The infant was located lying amid bloodied paper towels after the woman had left the airplane.

The child was later reunited with its mother, but welfare officials are still deciding whether the mother should get long-term custody.