An Auckland mother has shared her distress after her family were verbally abused and left in tears during a walk on her local beach on Saturday morning.

The woman, her husband and their three boys, who asked to remain anonymous, were walking on Browns Bay beach, which is within walking distance of their home, during the nationwide lockdown.

They were caught off-guard when a man swore at them while driving past.

"We all looked at each other confused," the woman told the Herald. "We thought it must be someone we know having a joke."

New Zealand has its first death linked to coronavirus. The death was a woman in her 70s in Greymouth Hospital early this morning. She tested positive for the virus on Friday morning.

After realising none of them knew the man, the woman approached him to ask his reasoning behind his outburst when they later crossed paths on the beach.

That's when things got nasty.

"He just started to go off," she said.

"He said that we were a bad example, that we were walking as a group and we weren't two metres apart from each other. I repeatedly kept trying to explain to him that we were one family living in one house in one bubble."

Under level 4 lockdown, people can leave their homes for essential items or a local walk, which was reiterated during yesterday's Covid-19 update.

"You can leave the house for physical exercise by yourself or with other members of your household, stick to your bubble. By all means, go for a short walk or run in your neighbourhood," All of Government controller John Ombler said.

The man verbally abused the family using "horrific language", as seen in a video later posted to the woman's Facebook account.

"His words were so foul and disgusting," she said.


"My sons were getting very upset and I started crying because I was so shocked that someone would hurl such horrible words at you just walking as a family. I still can't understand it."

She said the ordeal left them with no desire to return to the beach during the lockdown.

"There's no chance that we'll get our three boys to the beach again for a family walk, absolutely none," she said.

"They were so upset. That's the end of family walks."

Ombler said should anyone have reason to believe someone was breaking the rules, they should talk "politely with them to discuss it".

In more serious cases, police ask the public to submit a form online. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website