How ‘tourists from hell’ made NZ their enemy
IF WE'VE learnt anything from this week, it's that you don't tick off a Kiwi.
More often than not, they are some of the friendliest folk around. But throw a group of foreign travellers who litter, swear and steal in to the mix - and you can kiss any 'Kia Ora' welcome goodbye.
The 'unruly travellers' who descended on the country's North Island for a summer holiday didn't waste much time making an enemy of the whole nation. Within days they found they found themselves in the spotlight, threatened with deportation, labelled "pigs" and could now even face a five-year ban from re-entering the country.
The foul-mouthed group claim they had simply visited New Zealand "to see the Hobbits" but what they've got instead is a tirade of hate and headlines that doesn't look like going away anytime soon.
So how did the group's overseas holiday go south so quickly?
Trashing Takapuna Beach
Their first run-in happened when instead of picking up after themselves during a visit to a popular beach, they left a trail of rubbish in their wake.
Bystanders at Takapuna Beach reserve asked the group to tidy the mess but were abused and threatened by the visitors - a scene all caught on camera.
The disturbing footage heard one young member threatening to "knock the brains out" of locals who challenged their behaviour.
Witness Krista Curnow told the New Zealand Herald the family of tourists surrounded her and shouted abuse.
"The young boy in the video came up to our group and emptied his bag of chips on our blanket, before laughing and ran away," she said.
"Later on, the family packed up and left all their rubbish on the reserve. We were thinking, 'Are you serious?'
"We asked them if the were going to pick up their rubbish and they said they weren't coming back. So I followed them and I said, 'Hey don't come to our country and disrespect it like that.'
"Their response was basically if we have a problem then we can pick it up and that that's what the council is for.
"That's when they started getting quite violent. About four or five ladies stood around me in a half circle. They were saying they were going to hit me and I started walking backwards to get out of it.
"They turned violent and even grandma and the child got involved saying they wanted to punch my head in."
The little boy in the video then started swearing and getting aggressive, coming up to Ms Curnow and her friends saying he was going to "knock your brains out".
But in a follow up interview, group member John Johnson, said they came from a good family and his grandfather was the "10th richest man in England".
The man, who said his friends and family had simply come to New Zealand "to see the Hobbits", claimed they were the ones who copped the attack first, and that the whole ordeal had been blown out of proportion
Mr Johnson said his "respectable family" had been labelled "Irish scum" despite being from England, and claimed the young boy in the video was just speaking up for himself.
"We were sitting there, and a little boy smacked one of the kids. They come over and start calling us loads of names; 'Go back to Ireland.' We're sitting there having a meal and we're relaxing," he said, according to the Herald.
"One of the guys got very violent to one of my friends and everybody got around us and we had no choice but to get up and leave and there was a mess there, because we couldn't clean it up because we were badly intimidated by a group of people."
One of the other tourists, David Johnson, says he "will never come to New Zealand again".
"I was frightened for my kids at the beach," he told the Herald.
"There were people throwing things at us."
The footage soon went viral, and the large family group racked up a list of further offences that had them labelled as "trash" and "a**holes" by a local mayor and unwelcome in the country.
"They're worse than pigs and I'd like to see them out of the country," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said.
Theft at a Petrol Station
It later emerged that their problematic behaviour begun at the start of December when members of the family were caught on CCTV stealing a Christmas tree and other items from an Auckland petrol station, and continued when a woman appeared in court on Wednesday for similar offences.
A 26-year-old female member of the group pleaded guilty in the Hamilton District Court to stealing energy drinks, a rope and sunglasses from an Auckland service station on two separate occasions.
The court heard Tina Maria Cash stole a can of Red Bull from a Caltex service station at Albany on December 31.
On the day of Ms Cash's hearing, video emerged of a young boy from the group pulling the finger and yelling at media and locals outside the courtroom.
Footage captured by the New Zealand Herald shows a female walking away from the camera with a young boy by her side, flipping the bird at a journalist and shouting.
It is understood they have now been served deportation notices and are spending their last few days in the country under intense scrutiny and close observation, especially from those on social media.
Lucy Roberts, who witnessed the infamous incident at Takapuna Beach, said she was proud of Kiwis coming together to take a stand for what they think is right.
"It's cool to see that people are supportive of how we treat our environment and also that this sort of behaviour is not okay," she said.
"I think it will put other people off doing the same sort of thing. They won't want to be the next 'gypsy family'."
Roberts said the British tourists' behaviour was foul and disrespectful.
"I feel like they have tried to play the victim but I think everyone can see through that because of their actions."
"It's like they are taking the mickey and thinking they will get away with stuff. They don't realise that Kiwis won't put up with it."
She said the sooner the family left, the better.
"It is not like they are doing any good for the country.
"They should be deported if they are misbehaving that much because we don't want to send a message that it is okay to come to New Zealand and do things like that."
Traveller's home life revealed
The British group have been identified by British newspaper The Sun as having a reputation for anti-social behaviour in their native Britain.
Some of the family reportedly lived at a traveller site near Lutterworth, Leicestershire.
One nearby resident said the family had caused trouble there for many years.
"They copulate, defecate and urinate. It is never-ending."
There were also reports of livestock being killed by the family's dogs, drug use, thefts from local stores, and anti-social behaviour near the local Catholic Church.
"It's the younger ones. They just do whatever they want to do."
Where are they now?
While the families exact departure date from New Zealand is uncertain, although thought to be on Friday, but members of the group are currently thought to be hunkered down in Wellington.
Despite a quiet 24 hours since one of the tourists appeared in court on Wednesday, the family have left destruction in their wake as they journeyed around the central North Island.
Facebook user Bart Blithe posted photos on Facebook, saying he had seen some of the tourists in the Z petrol station in Tawa, one of Wellington's outer suburbs.
Blithe put up photos of a man in a red T-shirt and yellow shorts walking through the petrol station, though the photos are only taken from behind.
"I've warned the staff at Z who they are," he wrote.
"They're just getting a cellphone charged apparently."
Blithe said he followed them around the petrol station before the group left, heading south on the motorway.
"I had warned staff before they got the fuel nozzle in the car."
He said the people had a smoke and bought a coke while there.
Claims about the tourist group:
Footage captured on CCTV cameras at Caltex in Albany snared the moment members of the family enter the store steal a Christmas tree.
As two adult women look around the store and grab items from the shelves, two children appear to be caught walking out the door with a Christmas tree.
One of the children was also caught on camera allegedly leaving the store with a pair of sunglasses.
About Jan 3:
A group of about 13 tourists order drinks and four meals at Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote.
Roger Van Kempen, the manager of The Backyard Bar & Restaurant, claimed the group dined at his restaurant, put ants in their food and refused to pay for three meals worth about $55.
Two nights later when Van Kempen wasn't working, the group refused to pay for two more meals worth almost $60, claiming there was hair in it, he said.
Three members from the group entered the Montrose Cafe and ordered more than $110 worth of food before shoving food into an employee and making a daring escape without paying.
A group of the travellers also dine at Artwok eatery in Takapuna. They eat before threatening staff and walking out without paying.
A man says he experienced the "worst flight" ever after being stuck beside a group of rowdy travellers on a flight from Hong Kong to Auckland.
He believes the group were linked to the troublesome travellers and said they were unruly and caused boarding delays. A link between this group and the NZ group has not been confirmed.
Disturbing footage emerged of tourists dumping rubbish and empty alcohol bottles on Takapuna Beach - then threatening to "knock the brains out" of locals who challenged their behaviour.
The group from the beach dine at Nandos in Albany and demand a refund after ordering meals.
A group of travellers also dined at Mr India in Northcote where they only paid for one $16 meal but refused to pay for $250 worth of other food claiming there was hair in it.
Harvinder Kaur, owner of nearby Mr India, claimed they ate most of their food before putting hair in it and refusing to pay a $250 bill.
The group check out of Ibis. The owner of Coffee Club next to the hotel reports them to police saying they were abusive and didn't pay for a piece of chocolate cake.
A petition was launched on Change.org to "get rid of" the group and "teach a lesson to future tourists that we do not accept such behaviour".
Immigration NZ issues the group a deportation notice after they, and police, were called to Burger King Te Rapa, Hamilton, by staff after alleged unruly behaviour by the family of travellers.
A staff member said they were causing a nuisance, complaining about and asking for free food. The children were also banging coins on the machines, as other guests looked on. Staff decided to call police after they were walking through the drive-through.
Shortly afterwards they were stopped by police in the suburb of Harrowfield when officers found that two young children in their car were not in appropriate car seats. A family member was then taken by police to The Warehouse to buy two seats.
A 26-year-old woman in the group appears in Hamilton District Court charged with theft, alleged to have stolen energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from an Auckland service station.
Tina Maria Cash, 26, admitted she stole energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from a Caltex service station at Albany on December 31.
On January 3, Cash returned to the Caltex with her children and stole more Red Bull, rope and sunglasses valued at $50.
- with the New Zealand Herald