A British travelling family accused of wreaking havoc while on holiday in New Zealand has taken refuge in remote mountains – fearing they will be attacked by locals.
The group of about 12, believed to be from Liverpool in the UK, have allegedly scammed restaurants to avoid paying, left rubbish on beaches, sworn at locals and destroyed the apartment they were staying in during their visit.
After spending time upsetting residents in Auckland and Hamilton in the North Island, the family have now sought refuge in mountains outside of Wellington.
Family member John Johnson said the group felt like they were ‘refugees’, and had come to New Zealand ‘to see the hobbits’.
‘The way we have been treated, intimidated, we are scared to leave, we are scared to move, we are hiding at the moment. We don’t know what to do,’ Mr Johnson told Newshub.
‘It was all a big misunderstanding and I believe we’ve been treated very badly and should just be left alone.’
A British travelling family accused of wreaking havoc while on holiday in New Zealand has taken refuge in remote mountains. Pictured: John Johnson, a member of the family
Family member John Johnson said the group felt like they were ‘refugees’, and they had come to New Zealand ‘to see the hobbits and see the mountains’ Pictured: A child with the group who threatened a member of the public
Mr Johnson said he was hiding out with his mother and father, his sister-in law and his three children under the age of seven months in the mountains above Wellington (pictured)
Mr Johnson said he was hiding out with his mother and father, his sister-in law and his three children under the age of seven months.
He claimed their family had been spat at, abused and called ‘Irish scum’.
‘We are not Irish, we are not gypsies either. We are English citizens,’ he said.
‘We are a respectable family, we are a British family who have come here, as a Commonwealth country, to see New Zealand.’
Mr Johnson said his family have been followed by people driving cars.
The family has also been accused of a string of offences including putting ants and hair in their meals in an attempt to avoid paying and ordering more than $110 worth of food at a cafe before skipping out on their tab.
Mr Johnson denied the allegations of theft and deception.
‘No member of my family stole anything at any stage in New Zealand. We were not brought up that way,’ he said.
The establishments where the group of British tourists have reportedly had complaints about their behaviour during their stay in New Zealand
Poking fun: The New Zealand based chain Hell Pizza launched a limited edition pizza and named it ‘Unruly Tourist Pizza’
Grabaseat also made a subtle swipe at the tourists with its latest advertisement for flights out of New Zealand
As the saga involving the family continued this week, New Zealand’s businesses have begun poking fun at them.
Hell Pizza launched their limited edition pie this week, and named it ‘Unruly Tourist Pizza’ – while a disclaimer under the advertisement warns potential buyers that the pizza ‘may contain hair and ants’.
Air New Zealand also made a subtle swipe at the tourists with its latest advertisement for flights out of New Zealand with Grabaseat.
These were reportedly some of the excuses the British family used to get out of paying for food while visiting New Zealand.
A small-town mayor also issued a desperate warning for residents as the clan wreaking havoc across New Zealand arrived on their patch on Wednesday.
After spending time upsetting locals in Auckland and Hamilton, some members of the family stayed at a motel in Levin, a town of 32,500 people located on the country’s North Island.
The owner of the motel said the group arrived in the evening – and tried to haggle for a cheaper rate on their room.
After spending time upsetting locals in Auckland and Hamilton, some members of the family stayed at a motel in Levin. Pictured: A child with the group pulls the finger at reporters
He said the family checked in five people, but believed more than that actually stayed.
‘They just kept getting out of the car,’ he told the Horowhenua Chronicle.
The motel owner said the group behaved themselves and had been ‘pretty quiet’, and did not damage their rooms.
‘I didn’t see any nastiness but, if you do, you have to meet it with kindness,’ he said.
‘They’re obviously people we don’t really want in the country . . . they just sound like a disturbed family and I wonder how all of them got into the country,’ Levin mayor Michael Feyen said.
‘I just say to people of Levin to keep a way eye, to look after our own place and make sure they don’t shoplift in our shops or chuck their rubbish everywhere around.’
A worker at the motel the family stayed at in Levin told Newshub the family were ‘polite and to the point’, and would be welcomed back.
The motel worker said the mayor’s warning was ‘over the top’.
Caught on camera: The footage obtained by Daily Mail Australia shows two women dressed in pink and yellow and two children dressed in green enter the Caltex store in Albany, north of Auckland on 7 December. A man in red baseball cap enters at the same time but he is not part of the group
Brazen: Two children among a clan of British travellers causing chaos in New Zealand have been caught on CCTV stealing a Christmas tree. Pictured: The girl makes off with the tree while other people enter the shop
Two children among the group have been caught on CCTV appearing to steal a Christmas tree from a service station while two women made off with groceries.
The footage obtained by Daily Mail Australia shows two women dressed in pink and yellow and two children dressed in green enter the Caltex store in Albany, north of Auckland on December 7.
A man in a red baseball cap enters at the same time, but he is a separate customer not part of the group.
While the women walk down an aisle on the far side of the shop, the children move a Christmas tree into place by the main door.
Theft: The two women walk out of the store with armfuls groceries, making no attempt to pay. They walk out one by one. Pictured is the woman in pink leaving first. The woman in yellow soon leaves the queue and makes off without paying
A few moments later, the boy opens the door while the girl picks up the tree and brazenly walks out of the store, brushing past entering customers.
Then seconds later, the two women walk out of the store with armfuls of groceries, making no attempt to pay.
Caltex regional manager, Ankur Patel, said his team didn’t even notice the tree had been taken until the next day when they combed CCTV footage and then called police.
Cash (in pink) admitted in court to stealing a four-pack of Red Bull, a wire rope, and sunglasses from the same Caltex store over two thefts on December 31 and January 4
Mr Patel told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It’s completely shocking that two children would just walk away with a Christmas tree. We didn’t realise it was gone until the next day and then we checked the CCTV.’
The group was handed a Deportation Liability Notice on Tuesday which gives them 28 days to appeal or leave the country voluntarily before they are kicked out.
On Wednesday, one member of the group, Tina Maria Cash, 26, admitted in court to stealing a four-pack of Red Bull, a wire rope, and sunglasses from the same Caltex store over two thefts on December 31 and January 4.
Cash was accompanied to the courthouse by several travellers including the shirtless toddler who flipped the bird at journalists
A British family are to be deported from New Zealand after locals say they wreaked havoc across the country. The behaviour of the tourists (pictured speaking to police after causing a scene) has sparked anger in the country and the group have been labelled ‘a*******’ and ‘trash’ by the mayor of Auckland
Cash, who arrived in New Zealand on a six-month travelling visa on 29 November, claimed she did not remember the theft – but she was caught on CCTV, reported Stuff.
She pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay back $55.20 for the items she stole.
On her way into court, Cash was accompanied by several travellers including a shirtless toddler who pulled the finger and yelled at reporters.
One of the members of the group was seen ushering a child away as he threatened local woman Krista Curnow, saying he was going to ‘knock your brains out’
A young boy in the group also threatened to ‘knock the brains out’ of a woman who had filmed them littering on a picturesque Auckland beach while the family have also been accused of putting ants and hair in restaurant meals to avoid paying the bill.
The group of around 12 includes brothers John and David Johnson, their partners, children, and mother, Eileen Doran, from Liverpool, who arrived in New Zealand on Friday.
Their stint of mayhem across New Zealand led to the group being labelled ‘a*******’ and ‘trash’ by the mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff. A petition calling for their deportation amassed more than 2,500 signatures.
In a radio interview, Goff said: ‘These guys are trash. They are leeches. They’re worse than pigs and I’d like to see them out of the country.’
New Zealand’s assistant general manager of immigration, Peter Devoy, said the family had been issued with a deportation notice on the grounds of ‘matters relating to character’.
On Tuesday night there was a heated stand-off in which police were called after the family were seen walking through a Burger King drive-through.
One of the females believed to be in the group from England smiles as her picture is taken on a mobile phone in Auckland
Footage showed a young boy, wearing a wide-brimmed Bunnings Warehouse hat, approaching Ms Curnow, telling her: ‘I’ll knock your brains out’
Staff at the fast food chain said they were causing a nuisance and complaining by asking for free food, while the children were banging coins on machines.
Six police officers and two immigration officials were on the scene in Hamilton at about 3pm, when they served the family with deportation papers, Stuff reported.
They remained at the premises before leaving and returning in the afternoon. Staff eventually decided to call police after they walked through the drive-through.
Other accusations made against the group include:
- Littering at a beach before a boy threatened to ‘knock the brains out’ of a woman who challenged them
- Leaving a soiled nappy in a plane’s overhead bin and constantly demanding booze on their flight
- Throwing and hitting a journalist with a shoe when the reporter tried to approach them for comment
- Putting ants and hair in their meals in an attempt to get meals for free at numerous different restaurants
- Ordering more than $110 worth of food at a cafe before skipping out on their tab
- Grabbing a reporter’s phone before deleting footage and handing the device back
- Causing extensive damage to an apartment they had stayed in
The family, who denied being ‘gypsies’, earlier said they were going to cut their holiday short after denying they were responsible for the series of incidents.
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, family member David Johnson said he was stunned by the backlash against them.
He said: ‘We did leave a mess and they’re saying we’re gypsies, we’re not gypsies.’
Witness Krista Curnow said the group of about 12 tourists, who spoke with an Irish accent, turned violent when she asked them to clean their mess as they left the beach
David Johnson said his son was hit at the beach by another child and then taunted, which is the reason for his outburst towards being filmed.
Auckland mayor Phill Goff labelled the tourists ‘a*******’ in a radio interview, adding that they shouldn’t be in the country
‘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,’ the boy’s father David Johnson said.
He reportedly told the newspaper that he came from a good family, and said his grandfather was the ‘tenth richest man in England’
Establishments around Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island have complained the group put ants and hair in their meals in an attempt to get their meals for free and abused staff.
Three members of the group had breakfast at the Montrose Café and ordered over $110 worth of food before skipping out on their tab.
Benjamin Salt, the restaurant manager, said that the group was continuously ordering items to keep staff busy and were rude to the other customers.
‘They asked me for the total bill. I told them it was $114 and I had to repeat myself a few times before all of a sudden one of them said ‘have a look at this, there is a hair in my food’,’ he told the New Zealand Herald.
‘We were pretty sceptical but the chef came out to the table to apologise and we were going to take the item off their bill and then one shoved their food into me and when I went back to get rid of the plate they ran out the door.’
A woman with the group then pulled a hoodie over her head before getting into their white van, slamming the vehicle door into a nearby car as she did so
A group of tourists who allegedly left their trash all over a beachside park, threatened locals, and caused chaos on a flight have now been accused of not paying for meals at two restaurants and a café. Pictured: The man who named himself as John Johnson
The group had been accused of attempting to scam two other restaurants by refusing to pay for food at Mr India and The Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote.
A coffee shop in inner Auckland also accused the group of refusing to pay for chocolate cake and then yelling at staff.
On their flight over, the family reportedly demanded large seats, made continuous requests for alcohol and left a dirty nappy left in an overhead bin.
Pictured: Rubbish left behind by a group of tourists at a popular beach in Auckland
One passenger on the Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Auckland on Friday told the New Zealand Herald the family made the journey the ‘worst flight’ of his life.
Before the flight departed, both children gallivanted around the plane’s aisles and a daughter allegedly yelled at her mother who demanded food from staff, the passenger claimed.
The British tourists who trashed a beach also allegedly caused havoc on their flight into the country. Here they are pictured leaving the scene after allegedly littering
Ms Curnow said she and her friends cleaned up the tourists’ mess with the help of other beachgoers
They were also accused of damaging an apartment which they had stayed in.
Sufi Muhammad, Star Queens Service Apartment manager, said: ‘She didn’t pay for Saturday, and on Saturday the apartment was totally mess, broken television even the toilet was leaking.’
He claimed the group requested a year-long lease but were offered a studio apartment for a week. After accepting the offer, they allegedly tried to break into a bigger apartment.
On January 14, the group tried to trade in their two vehicles for one at the Hamilton car dealership. But when staff checked the van they found five children in the back with no seats.
‘Their response was basically if we have a problem then we can pick it up and that that’s what the council is for,’ Ms Curnow said
‘He was pretty arrogant, soon as he walked in, he approached my boss with a rude voice and rarked everyone up, a lot of arrogance on his side,’ said a staff member at the dealership.
Days later the supposed same group were filmed leaving beer bottles and rubbish on a busy beach, before a child threatened to ‘knock the brains out’ of locals who confronted them in now-viral footage.
The incident, which unfolded at Auckland’s Takapuna Beach on New Zealand‘s North Island on Sunday, was captured on camera by Krista Curnow.
She said the group of about 12 tourists turned violent when she asked them to clean their mess as they left the beach.
‘Their response was basically if we have a problem then we can pick it up and that that’s what the council is for,’ Ms Curnow said.
‘I approached the family to ask again if they could not disrespect our country while visiting and pick up their rubbish.
‘They turned violent and even grandma and the child got involved saying they wanted to punch my head in.’
Footage showed a young boy, wearing a wide-brimmed Bunnings Warehouse hat, approach Ms Curnow, telling her: ‘I’ll knock your brains out’.
‘The mouth on that young boy – absolutely disgusting! What kind of role models are the parents allowing this sort of behaviour,’ Ms Curnow said.
‘We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, how dare people come to NZ and disrespect our country, this is our home.’
The family later ordered food at a nearby Nandos store, before demanding a refund, The New Zealand Herald reported.
The incident unfolded at Auckland’s Takapuna Beach (pictured), on New Zealand’s North Island on Sunday
Ms Curnow said she and her friends cleaned up the tourists’ mess, with the help of other beachgoers.
‘I loved how everyone else on the beach came to support and we all picked up the rubbish together! Love NZ,’ she said.
Inspector Kevin McNaughton, Acting Area Commander of Waitemata East Police, told Daily Mail Australia the incident was being investigated.
‘Police will be speaking with those involved and will be referring them to Auckland Council with regard to their behaviour around the littering of rubbish,’ he said.
‘Police would like to remind the public that offenders caught illegally dumping rubbish may be issued with a fine of up to $400.
‘Serious offenders may also be prosecuted under the Litter Act 1979 with a maximum penalty of $30,000.
‘We pride ourselves in our clean, green image as a country and thank the members of the public who reported this behaviour on this occasion.’