Friday 19 July 2019

‘We’re not gypsies, we’re not Irish’ - family at centre of New Zealand beach video issued deportation notices

  • Claim to be related to '10th richest English man'
  • Issued deportation notice yesterday
  • Said they will 'never come to New Zealand again'
Takapuna beach in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Google Maps
Takapuna beach in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Google Maps
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

The family at the centre of a viral video in New Zealand have hit back at claims that they were abusive to locals after footage emerged of rubbish left on a beach.

The group, who Auckland native Krista Curnow claimed to be Irish, became involved in a heated conversation with locals after noticing the mess the family were leaving behind on Takapuna beach.

Ms Curnow shared video footage of the litter strewn across the grass banks near the beach, alongside a clip of one of a young boy saying he would “knock your brains out”.

The drama kicked off on Sunday when Ms Curnow claimed the family became "violent" when asked to pick up everything before they left the beach.

"We approached the family to ask them if they can please not leave without picking up their rubbish, 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."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff branded the group "a bunch of a***holes" and "leeches" and an online petition was signed by over 3,000 locals to “deport the unruly tourists”.

However, speaking for the first time to the NZ Herald, the family have clarified that they are from Liverpool in England and described themselves as a “respectable family”. 

John Johnson told the NZ Herald that his eight-year-old nephew was attacked near the water, with locals telling them they were “Irish scum”, and that seeing the camera on them sent him “over the edge”.

"So there's two sides to the story. We did leave a mess and they're saying we're gypsies, we're not gypsies,” he said.

“We're English citizens and we were attacked on that beach, we left and they videoed the mess and then put it on Facebook, you see what I mean?

“People are trying to say we were in Australia, we were never in Australia. We come here for a holiday. We are not gypsies, we are not Irish."

He said his grandfather was the “10th richest man in England” and that they were in New Zealand to visit Hobbiton in Matamata, the movie set from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. 

“All he did was spoke up for himself and that's it and I think, God, give everybody the right to speak for themselves. At the end of the day it was just absolutely ridiculous what happened.

"In regards to the mess, we are not like that. We are a respectable family. If we go on holiday we treat every country like our own country, no difference. I was brought up in London. I wasn't brought up this way."

A spokesperson for Immigration New Zealand (INZ) confirmed to the local paper that Deportation Liability Notices were issued to four of the individuals.

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