A family of unruly tourists from the UK has dominated headlines in New Zealand this week and they've left a trail of controversial incidents on the road from Auckland to Hamilton.

The large family group, reported to be around 12 people from three generations, including a grandmother, first attracted attention after several members were filmed leaving large amounts of rubbish on Takapuna beach.

The tourists caused controversy at Takapuna Beach.
The tourists caused controversy at Takapuna Beach.

The group was videoed by local Krista Curnow as they left when an eight-year-old boy was seen abusing the woman, and threatening to "knock your brains out".

They've also been accused of dining at restaurants and refusing to pay their bills, after claiming to find hairs and ants in their meals.

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The family has Kiwis so riled up that a petition was even launched to get the family kicked out of the country – and it seems signatories have been successful, as Immigration NZ confirms the group has been issued a deportation notice.

A 26-year-old woman in the group has since been charged with theft, alleged to have stolen energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from an Auckland service station.

While the behaviour of these troublesome tourists has captivated the nation, they're not the first to sully our shores.

Police caught up with the family group in Te Rapa, Hamilton. Photo / Belinda Feek
Police caught up with the family group in Te Rapa, Hamilton. Photo / Belinda Feek

Here are a few other examples of bad tourist behaviour – some of them involving famous names – that made headlines around New Zealand.

French freedom campers

In 2017, a French freedom camper was caught on camera defecating on a Dunedin street.
In 2017, a French freedom camper was caught on camera defecating on a Dunedin street.

In 2017, Dunedin police received a formal complaint about a French woman – believed to be a freedom camper – defecating in a gutter on a Dunedin street.

A local business owner said a white camper van had broken down outside his workshop on Vogel St on a Saturday in March. The following night, he noticed a "large amount of faeces" in the gutter, prompting him to review security camera footage which revealed the culprit.

The woman had no excuse, considering she had access to 24 hour public toilet at a service station in nearby Cumberland St.

Newshub later tracked down the couple who drove the van and played them the offending footage – but they denied any knowledge of the incident.

Rancour over the incident was so extreme the French Embassy began wading into the 'faeces controversy', with a spokesperson for the embassy reminding tourist to watch their conduct.

"Tourists, regardless of their nationality, are expected to obey New Zealand laws and regulations, apply common sense and display good manners," said l'Ambassade de France à Wellington

Jeremy Clarkson

Former Top Gear hosts James May (left) and Jeremy Clarkson eating at a restaurant on Princes Wharf, Auckland. Photo / Natalie Slade
Former Top Gear hosts James May (left) and Jeremy Clarkson eating at a restaurant on Princes Wharf, Auckland. Photo / Natalie Slade

In December 2015, former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson went on a Twitter rant after visiting New Zealand – with Auckland's Waiheke Island the particular subject of the petrol-head's ire.

"My advice to anyone wishing to visit Waiheke Island is: don't." the Brit wrote to his followers on the social media site.

Clarkson was said to have made some strange demands during his stay on Waiheke Island including having items helicoptered to him from Auckland including cigarettes, a Monopoly board game and gravy mix.

The motor mouth presenter responded on Twitter: "To be clear, I've also never demanded a game of monopoly or a Range Rover so I could look at it.

"I did ask the helicopter pilot if he'd get me a game of Risk. Much better than Monopoly. He offered to get gravy as well. I declined."

Tourist drivers

Tourist drivers who are unfamiliar with New Zealand's roads often make headlines over the busy summer holiday period.

In some cases, tourists have been left stranded on the side of the road after having their car keys confiscated by locals concerned about their driving.

In January last year, a tourist arrested for dangerous driving on the Gibbston Highway near Queenstown told police he was rushing to find a toilet after eating too many cherries in Cromwell.

Queenstown Sergeant Keith Newell said the 29-year-old foreign national overtook two cars in front of an oncoming vehicle, forcing the two cars to pull to the left to avoid a head-on collision.

Motorists called for the introduction of visitor "V-plates" for tourist drivers, following a spate of incidents last year.

According to the 2015 data from the New Zealand Transport Agency, foreign drivers contribute to about 6 per cent of all crashes resulting in injury or death - even though tourists are estimated to make up just 1 per cent of all road traffic in the country.

In 2014 drivers on an overseas licence were involved in 16 fatal traffic crashes, 100 serious injury crashes and 436 minor injury crashes.

Of these crashes, the overseas driver was at fault in 15 of the fatal crashes, 78 of the serious injury crashes and 332 of the minor injury crashes, resulting in 22 deaths, 118 serious injuries and 551 minor injuries.

Jimmy Carr

British comedian Jimmy Carr was slammed by Kiwis on Twitter for a quip on the platform suggesting that the 2011 Christchurch earthquake had improved the city's appearance and Dunedin could do with an earthquake next.

While Carr is known for his dark and often inappropriate humour, many social media users found he'd gone too far.

The tweet in question featured four images of a puppet version of Carr, in front of four sights of Dunedin.

Carr's caption read, "Went to Napier, destroyed by an earthquake - rebuilt - beautiful town. Went to Christchurch, destroyed by an earthquake - rebuilt - beautiful town. I'm now in Dunedin.

"I'll tell you what this town needs..."

Carr's audience was split on their opinion of the gag.

Some blasted the comedian for being insensitive, labelling the joke as "not okay" and "a bit harsh".

"Earthquakes are hilarious aren't they..." one user posted.

"Dude, waaaay too soon. Some of us survived those quakes. Too many of us didn't. Don't joke about tragedies, especially ones you haven't experienced," another complained.
Other dedicated fans came out in support of Carr, calling the joke a "great gag" and "hilarious".

"Lol hilarious. TRUE! Dunedin needs a quake or a bomb. Maybe both. Let's bring Dunedin into the 2000s finally," one brave Tweeter posted.

Tiaki Promise

As the number of visitors to New Zealand has soared in the last five years, tourists have been asked to take a special pledge to act as guardians of the country.

Called the "Tiaki Promise", a range of material has been promoted through sites like newzealand.com as well as www.tiakinewzealand.co.nz, and on Air New Zealand's international services.

Tiaki Promise videos feature shots of different parts of New Zealand and its people and urges tourists to tread lightly, leave no trace, respect culture and ''travel with an open mind''.

Government agency Tourism NZ spent $115,000 on the project – making sure visitors were exposed to the video.

However, it seems the message was wasted on this week's now notorious travelling family.