Saga of infamous 'unruly tourists' to become an opera

In early 2019, New Zealanders lived through a few weeks of chaos, but now we'll get the chance to relive the saga of the infamous unruly British tourists again.

No, the tourists aren't coming back, but they are making their way onto the stage in a new opera.

During the summer of 2019, the tourists became the stuff of legends. Although they wreaked havoc around the country, Kiwis just kept coming back for more. 

"Just a great story, a great yarn with larger-than-life characters, and a New Zealand public who responded in a way that only New Zealand responds," composer Luke Di Somma says.

The tourists were first spotted littering but were then soon destroying hotels, putting ants in their meals so they didn't have to pay, stealing Red Bulls from the petrol station, and ending up in court.

Ten thousand Kiwis signed a petition to get them deported, and outside a Hamilton Burger King, they were given their notice. It sent them into hiding in the hills.

Thomas de Mallet Burgess was obsessed with the saga. 

"The name that was given to them, the unruly tourists, felt so Shakespearean," he says.

Because he just so happens to be the general director of the New Zealand Opera, he's decided to turn it into one. 

"This piece is about making fun of everyone," he says.

The opera is due to be released sometime in 2022.