Rowdy tourists: Hiding in the mountains, fearing local attacks

The British family whose escapades across the country have gripped New Zealand have spoken out, saying they have done nothing wrong but now fear going out in public as they believe they will be attacked.

In an exclusive interview with Newshub, the so-called rowdy tourists, who have been accused of theft, littering and general chaos, have labelled Kiwis racist and say they want to leave but fear going to the airport.

One of the family members, John Johnson, said they were like "refugees" in a Commonwealth country, hiding in the mountains north of Wellington.

"The reason being is that we feel that we're going to be attacked by the locals," he told Newshub.

Mr Johnson is known as the man in the white shirt in the now infamous video caught of the family at Takapuna Beach on Sunday.

He says he's holed up with his elderly mum and dad, who are in their sixties, his sister-in-law, and three children, aged seven, three, and seven months.

"We are a respectable family, we are a British family who have come here, as a Commonwealth country, to see New Zealand, to see the Hobbits and see the mountains," Mr Johnson said.

"The way we have been treated, intimidated, we are scared to leave, we are scared to move, we are hiding at the moment. We don't know what to do."

Mr Johnson says there is another side to the story of the encounter at Takapuna Beach, where they were accused of littering and abusing other beachgoers.

He says his family left rubbish on the beach and his nephew lashed out because they were fleeing gang members who threatened them.

"A guy got into the car, I'm not sure if it was two I only seen one, got into the car and tried to follow us and when we turned left he tried to ram us, and we turned left and right and barely got away. So we were followed," he said.

"I don't think anyone is going to hang around to clean anything up if they are going to be beaten up."

We haven't stolen anything - Johnson
 

Mr Johnson's sister-in-law, Tina Cash, pleaded guilty in Hamilton District Court on Wednesday to stealing from an Auckland petrol station, but he says it isn't her in the CCTV footage.

Accusations of the group behaving inappropriately at motels and restaurants are also untrue, said Mr Johnson, because the family only arrived in Aotearoa on January 11  days after these alleged events.

"No member of my family stole anything at any stage in New Zealand. We weren't brought up that way. We do have money and we're happy to pay for our goods.

"Locals starting spitting at my family, calling names and calling Irish scum. We are not Irish, we are not gypsies either. We are English citizens. I also know a lot of Irish people, and I think they are very nice and friendly people, and I don't there should be a racism against Irish either."

He's furious with Auckland Mayor's Phil Goff saying he inflamed the situation by calling the family trash.

"We're absolutely terrified for our life. This is supposed to be a relaxing holiday, beautiful holiday in a country that you could visit and it all just went downhill and we're down a lot of money," he said.

They have now been served deportation notices by Immigration New Zealand, and Mr Johnson says the family have booked flights out of Wellington next week but they fear they'll be attacked at the airport.

"We felt completely shocked this was appalling, absolutely appalling, that we felt, we actually felt that we had been treated as animals.

"My message to New Zealand is that it's a beautiful country we would never treat your country in this kind of way. It was all a big misunderstanding and I believe we've been treated very badly and I believe that we should be left alone and we're badly bullied."

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz