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'We are a respectable family' - tourists deny any wrong doing, say they have been the ones mistreated

The English tourists who have been causing a stir around Auckland after allegedly abusing locals when confronted for littering Takapuna Beach and allegedly making trouble at multiple restaurants have denied any wrongdoing, saying they are the ones who have been poorly treated.

One of the family members, John Johnson, told the NZ Herald that prior to contrary belief the family is from Liverpool, not Ireland, and that his grandfather is the "10th richest man in England".

Addressing the beach littering incident that kicked off the saga, Mr Johnson says the whole incident was blown out of proportion.

He said it all began when his nephew, 8, was slapped by another boy at the beach. Soon after he claims that people began calling them Irish scum and hurled items at them.

Feeling unsafe, Mr Johnson says the family then decided to leave and didn't have time to clean up their rubbish which led to a confrontation between Mr Johnson's young nephew and a local woman that was caught on camera.

The boy's father David Johnson explained his side of the story to NZ Herald.

"All he did [his son] was speak up for himself and everybody's got every right to speak for themselves. It was absolutely ridiculous what happened, we are a respectable family.

"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.

"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," David Johnson said.

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    They’re investigating after a group was filmed leaving a pile of rubbish at the beach, before an angry confrontation with locals. Source: 1 NEWS

    He went on to say his family were the victim's at Takapuna Beach.

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

    Mr Johnson also claims his family has never been to Australia and are not linked with Irish scammers charged with similar behaviour there.

    "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."

    The family was filmed by 1 NEWS outside a Hamilton Burger King today where they were being spoken to by police and immigration.

    They told NZ Herald they were due to stay in New Zealand for another two weeks but will now be leaving tomorrow after what they say was poor treatment here.

    Krista Curnow, who posted two videos to Facebook with the initial clip showing the family leaving a pile of a rubbish on the grass near the beach, tells a different story to the Johnson family.

    "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 wrote.

    "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."

    A second video showed a young boy from the family shouting at the woman, "I'll knock your brains out".

    Ms Curnow’s post has received thousands of reactions and widespread attention.

    Another woman told 1 NEWS she and her partner confronted the man in the video again yesterday morning over his family’s behaviour.

    Two restaurants have weighed in against the group of unruly tourists, accusing them of refusing to pay for meals after complaining they found hair in their food, the NZ Herald reports.

    Staff at Mr India and The Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote said a group ordered hundreds of dollars worth of meals at their restaurants before refusing to pay because they claimed there was hair in the food.

    Stuff reports that police received reports of "the family causing trouble" at Burger King in Hamilton, this afternoon.

    A police spokesman said investigators welcomed further information from people who have encountered the family.

    The Johnson family speak to police outside a Hamilton Burger King. Source: 1 NEWS


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