The tourist who sparked controversy after eating at a soup kitchen in an attempt to travel the country without spending any money has spent much of his life in New Zealand.

Enoch Orious and his German partner Anna made headlines today as tourists hoping to travel the country without spending any money - using charities or dumpster diving when they needed to get by.

The Herald can now reveal Orious is Auckland man Jamie Burfoot.

Enoch Orious - aka Jamie Burfoot - poses with cheap eats on his Free From Money Facebook page. Photo / via Facebook
Enoch Orious - aka Jamie Burfoot - poses with cheap eats on his Free From Money Facebook page. Photo / via Facebook

Jamie's father Jeremy Burfoot told the Herald his son liked to go by the name Enoch.

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It was understood Jamie grew up on Auckland's North Shore and had previously attended Westlake Boys' High School.

His father said Jamie was an Australian citizen, but had lived in New Zealand for much of his life "on and off" between travels.

"He's got a good heart" and he was genuinely trying to get by without spending money, he said.

"He's just drifting ..."

His free-spirited son had lived at Wilderland in the Coromandel for about six months where he met his partner Anna, a German tourist, he said.

According to the website, Wilderland was for students and volunteers who wanted to collaborate in a range of ecological farming and sustainable living practices.

The couple made headlines today when a Wellington city councillor called them out, saying the soup kitchen was not there for tourists trying to travel on the cheap.

Social Development portfolio leader Brian Dawson told Newstalk ZB they should not be taking advantage of the system.

"I don't think it's appropriate to be using soup kitchens or social services just because you want to be able to travel around on the cheap," he said.

On the couple's Facebook page, Free From Money, they said they had faced a huge backlash on social media including "people wishing us death".

They said they had both started volunteering at the Free Store and hoped to get involved in more charity work in Wellington and around the country.

Enoch Orious - aka Jamie Burfoot - and his German partner Anna. Photo / via Facebook
Enoch Orious - aka Jamie Burfoot - and his German partner Anna. Photo / via Facebook

Wellington's Sisters of Compassion Soup Kitchen manager Karen Holland told Newstalk ZB she did not view the tourists differently to any of the other guests.

"I don't feel any differently towards the backpackers. If they came in, then I do towards any of the whanau that come and eat at the soup kitchen," she said.

"We operate on the principle of manaakitanga where we offer hospitality to whoever comes, we ask no questions, and we treat everybody with a great deal of respect."

But she told Newstalk ZB she could understand how Wellingtonians might feel about it.

"They are designed for people in need and, yes, I can understand why people are upset about it," she said.

"I think it's because the people of Wellington hold the Compassion Soup Kitchen quite close to their heart - they donate to it, they care about it and they are really appreciative of the mahi that's done here at this place.

"And I think that they feel that it is a sign of disrespect when people that can afford to buy food come and take advantage - but we at the soup kitchen can't allow ourselves to feel that way."