An English family decided to unwind by doing a lot of bad deeds, committing petty crime, and attracting the attention of an entire country over their holidays. While on vacation in New Zealand, a family with “approximately 12” but maybe as many as 15 members spent nearly a month terrorizing the nation before the government gave them an official deportation notice.
Before the notorious, large family was forced to leave, the entire country became a bit obsessed with them, as was documented at length in a recent Slate piece. Many assumed they were Irish; however, upon the arrest of one family member, it was determined that they were British. Other than that, very little else is known about the rowdy tourists, who shielded their faces from cameras and told the press few details about themselves.
But while we don’t know their names, we do know the crimes they are accused of, which are extensive and incredible — the New Zealand Herald even made a map of where the “unwelcome guests” misbehaved. Here’s a rundown of all the destruction they (allegedly) wrought.
The family was accused of stealing a Christmas tree, cans of Red Bull, sunglasses, and rope from a gas station.
On December 7, the family reportedly stole multiple items from a store in North Auckland, including a small Christmas tree, which was carried out by two children. Two women in the group were also captured on CCTV hiding smaller items in their clothing before they all left.
The owner of the store was stunned by how brazen the family had been. “I could not believe they would just walk out with a Christmas tree,” Dipesh Patel told Stuff. “Especially children.”
But grinch-ing the Christmas tree wasn’t even the most bizarre part of the story: The family apparently kept coming back. On New Year’s Eve, they returned. Then, four days later, they were back again. Both times, a member of the family allegedly stole items from the store. On the third visit, Patel confronted one of the women he believed had stolen from his store; she denied that it was her and walked away. Then a man identifying himself as the woman’s husband came forward, apologized, and paid for a few of the items, but not for everything that was stolen.
Later, a woman in the family named Tina Maria Cash, 26, would plead guilty to stealing a pair of sunglasses, rope, and cans of Red Bull from the store. She was ordered to pay $55.20, and she did.
They allegedly put ants in their food or tried to turn waitstaff against each other to avoid paying dinner bills.
According to the Herald, the large family would order big meals at restaurants, and then, after they finished, would report that they’d found hair or bugs in their food and decline to pay their bill. They’re accused of doing this twice at a place called Backyard Bar & Restaurant, on January 3 and January 5. Between both trips, the family managed to get out of paying for five of the meals they’d ordered, and loudly argued with the staff about the bill.
A few days later, the family reportedly tried to turn waitstaff at another restaurant against each other in order to get out of paying the check.
“After annoying staff members with their rude behaviour and bizarre requests, they tried to get me onside and turn me against my boss by buying me a beer while I was on shift and getting me to sit down and have conversations,” the restaurant manager told NewsTalk. “They started making comments saying he was bullying them, which was odd because he hadn’t said or done anything towards the group.”
Sometimes, reports say, they simply dined-and-dashed.
On January 9, at a restaurant in Takapuna, several members of the family reportedly ordered and ate their food and then threatened the waitstaff before walking out. On January 13, the group dined at a Nandos, and then immediately demanded a refund on their food.
They pulled a similar stunt on January 13 at a restaurant called Mr. India, where they only paid for $16 of a $250 check after claiming they’d found a hair in their food.
They were repeatedly accused of being rude in the strangest of ways.
One man accused a few members of the family of “rudely demanding his scooter.” There aren’t very many more details on this encounter, but based on the pattern of behavior associated with them, the story seems to check out. In addition, when a hotel clerk at a hotel in which they were staying asked for one of the men’s room number, so that she could charge his breakfast accordingly, he refused to answer her.
“He was eating toast and he threw it on the ground,” an unnamed eyewitness told Stuff. “He behaved rudely.”
They allegedly littered, and then threatened the locals who asked them to pick up their trash.
At Takapuna Beach, the family was confronted about the extensive amount of trash they had left around them. Staff reports that there were bottles, beer boxes, and baby wipes strewn everywhere. When other beachgoers asked the family to clean up their garbage, they did not respond calmly.
Rather, in footage that was captured on a Facebook video, one of the children, who witnesses describe as being “about 9,” can be heard yelling at the woman recording the video, Krista Curnow, that he would “knock your brains out.” Curnow claimed that earlier in the day, the same boy (whom she at one point called “a naughty little shit”) “deliberately poured chips onto our blanket.”
Later, Curnow said she was surrounded by five women who “egged each other on to hit me” and also threatened to run her over with their car.
They had odd interactions with the press.
When Tina Maria Cash arrived at court for the charges related to her gas station thefts, she was accompanied by some of her other family members, including a boy (possibly the same one who threatened to knock out Curnow’s brains?) who flipped off the press every chance he got. Footage captured by the Herald shows the boy lowering the piece of paper he used to cover his face in order to flip off the cameras as he and an unidentified woman walked away from the courthouse.
In an exclusive interview with the New Zealand Herald, one of the young men in the rowdy tourist group gave the name “John Johnson” and told reporters that his grandfather was the “tenth-richest man in England.” None of Johnson’s story has been confirmed, though it seems unlikely, as the tenth-richest man in England is actually the 27-year-old Duke of Westminster, as Slate notes.
The man who identified himself as John Johnson didn’t seem to be very remorseful about the long list of dirty deeds his family was accused of — indeed, from his account of events, he and his raucous family were actually the ones being bullied by New Zealanders. “We’re here to see the hobbits,” he told the Herald. “I’ve been looking at the hobbits my whole life, since I’m born. That was originally what our plans was, but it’s all been fucked up now.”
“I’m no one famous,” he continued. “I’m just a fat kid from England on holiday. I feel very unwelcome here. I feel like an alien invader.”
New Zealand got so exasperated they began deportation proceedings for the family.
Eventually, the group’s reign of chaos came to an end. By January 15, New Zealand authorities began deportation proceedings for the family, revoking their temporary visas and giving them 28 days to leave the country or appeal the decision. Perhaps for the first time during their trip to New Zealand, they didn’t put up a fight: A member of the family told the Herald that they were expecting to leave the country by Wednesday.
The Irish Times announced the news with the following headline: “Family to be deported from New Zealand is British, not Irish.”