The Large Rowdy Tourist Family That Has New Zealand In Uproar
The idyllic peace of New Zealand has been shattered in recent weeks, with a trail of Red Bull, stolen sunglasses and beach rubbish left strewn in the wake of a reportedly large and rowdy family of tourists.
A group of up to 15 visitors, previously thought to be Irish but later identified as British, have been causing havoc up and down the Land of the Long White Cloud for the past fortnight.
Their list of (alleged) heinous crimes includes:
- leaving rubbish on a beach and abusing locals who called them out;
- skipping out on bills of "hundreds of dollars" at several restaurants, including incidents where they claimed to have found hair in their food;
- stealing items including a Christmas tree, a pack of Red Bull cans, rope and sunglasses from various shops;
- not properly restraining children in appropriate car seats;
- being unruly on a plane flight;
- and causing trouble and "banging coins on the machines" at a Burger King restaurant
One member of the family reportedly claimed they were related to one of Britain's richest men, and the group have insisted they've done nothing wrong, denying allegations of bad behaviour.
A Daily Mail journalist, who tracked down the family, reported that a hotel claimed the group had left their room messy, with spaghetti strewn around the area and their room stinking of "kid's poo".
Several children among the group have been captured on video giving the middle finger to other citizens and telling a journalist they would "slit his throat". Some members of the family have reportedly been served deportation notices by the NZ government, and one member appeared in court over the alleged theft of several items from a service station, to which she pleaded guilty.
"Immigration officers advised the individuals of their appeal rights and provided the relevant documentation for them to appeal if they choose to do so," a spokesman for NZ's immigration department reportedly advised, saying the family had been served notices relating to their "character".
The country's media have been transfixed by the affair, breathlessly following every move as the family travelled around the country and more reports of their behaviour emerged. It's about as close as New Zealand has gotten to the OJ Simpson chase, with cameras and journalists tailing the family up and down the coast.
Businesses have been warning one another about the tourists' antics, with hotels and shops on red alert in case they are visited by the infamously large and rowdy family.
The sequence of events has led to some real and serious consequences, with the family set to be deported from the country, and one member of the family -- who said she is seven months pregnant -- claiming to have been vomiting blood while being locked in a police holding cell with a violent criminal who had been convicted of armed robbery offences.
"I'm very, very frightened, honestly," one member of the family told the Daily Mail, claiming the family had been forced to hide.
While the case has garnered worldwide media attention, being covered in the family's native England as well as Ireland, South Africa, France, Australia and the United States.
Popular US website Slate wrote a story titled "Why Is All of New Zealand Obsessed With This Drunken, Littering, Rowdy Tourist Family?" while The Cut, a section of the New Yorker, headlined its article "Entire Nation of New Zealand Unites Against Rowdy, Drunken Tourist Family".
The family have the option to appeal their deportation notices, so the saga of the large rowdy tourists may yet still have some way to go.