It all began with litter on a beach and an argument with locals, but the unruly behaviour of a group of British tourists has turned into a global saga.

The group have dominated this week's headlines after first attracting media attention following an altercation at Takapuna Beach on Sunday.

Disturbing footage emerged of the tourists dumping rubbish and empty alcohol bottles on the beach - then threatening to "knock the brains out" of locals who challenged their behaviour.

Approximately 12 tourists from one family showed up to Takapuna Beach to enjoy a day out, but as they were leaving they left behind a hefty amount of rubbish on the reserve.

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The tourists were caught dumping rubbish on Takapuna Beach before scamming local eateries into refunding them for meals. Photo / Supplied
The tourists were caught dumping rubbish on Takapuna Beach before scamming local eateries into refunding them for meals. Photo / Supplied

Disgruntled beachgoers challenged the family and asked them to pick up their rubbish, but the tourists allegedly turned violent and threatened to punch locals in the face.

Witness Krista Curnow told the Herald the family of tourists surrounded her and shouted abuse while footage from the incident shows a young boy shouting "I'll knock your brains out".

The footage has since gone viral, and the large family group have amounted a list of further offences that have seen them labelled as "trash" and "a**holes" by a local mayor and unwelcome in the country.

"They're worse than pigs and I'd like to see them out of the country," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said.

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

It later emerged that their problematic behaviour begun at the start of December when members of the family were caught on CCTV stealing a Christmas tree and other items from an Auckland petrol station, and has continued until a woman appeared in court on Wednesday for similar offences.

They have now been served deportation notices and are living out their last few days in Aotearoa under intense scrutiny and close observation.

Lucy Roberts, who witnessed the infamous incident at Takapuna Beach, said she was proud of Kiwis coming together to take a stand for what they think is right.

"It's cool to see that people are supportive of how we treat our environment and also that this sort of behavior is not okay," she said.

"I think it will put other people off doing the same sort of thing. They won't want to be the next 'gypsy family'."

Roberts said the British tourists' behaviour was foul and disrespectful.

"I feel like they have tried to play the victim but I think everyone can see through that because of their actions."

"It's like they are taking the mickey and thinking they will get away with stuff. They don't realise that Kiwis won't put up with it."

She said the sooner the family left, the better.

"It is not like they are doing any good for the country.

"They should be deported if they are misbehaving that much because we don't want to send a message that it is okay to come to New Zealand and do things like that."

Two children among a clan of British travellers causing chaos in New Zealand have been caught on CCTV stealing a Christmas tree. Photo / Supplied
Two children among a clan of British travellers causing chaos in New Zealand have been caught on CCTV stealing a Christmas tree. Photo / Supplied

Krista Curnow, who shot the footage at Takapuna Beach, said the tourists involved in the scandal belong to a "disgusting minority".

She hoped people outside of New Zealand wouldn't view Kiwis as bullies or racists.

"This family are a small minority of people, and wherever they are from, it doesn't change our view on the country or culture," she said.

Meanwhile, the travellers have been identified by British newspaper The Sun as having a reputation for anti-social behaviour in their native Britain.

Some of the family reportedly lived at a traveller site near Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

One nearby resident said the family had caused trouble there for many years.

"They copulate, defecate and urinate. It is never-ending."

There were also reports of livestock being killed by the family's dogs, drug use, thefts from local stores, and anti-social behaviour near the local Catholic church.

"It's the younger ones. They just do whatever they want to do."

While the families exact departure date from New Zealand is uncertain, members of the group are currently thought to be hunkered down in Wellington.

Despite a quiet 24 hours since one of the tourists appeared in court on Wednesday, the family have left destruction in their wake as they journeyed around the central North Island.

Claims about the tourist group:

December 7:

Footage captured on CCTV cameras at Caltex in Albany snared the moment members of the family enter the store steal a Christmas tree.

As two adult women look around the store and grab items from the shelves, two children appear to be caught walking out the door with a Christmas tree.

One of the children was also caught on camera allegedly leaving the store with a pair of sunglasses.

About Jan 3:
A group of about 13 tourists order drinks and four meals at Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote.

Roger Van Kempen, the manager of The Backyard Bar & Restaurant, claimed the group dined at his restaurant, put ants in their food and refused to pay for three meals worth about $55.

Two nights later when Van Kempen wasn't working, the group refused to pay for two more meals worth almost $60, claiming there was hair in it, he said.

Jan 9:
Three members from the group entered the Montrose Cafe and ordered more than $110 worth of food before shoving food into an employee and making a daring escape without paying.

A group of the travelers also dine at Artwok eatery in Takapuna. They eat before threatening staff and walking out without paying.

Jan 11:
A man says he experienced the "worst flight" ever after being stuck beside a group of rowdy travelers on a flight from Hong Kong to Auckland.

He believes the group were linked to the troublesome travelers and said they were unruly and caused boarding delays.

Jan 13:
Disturbing footage emerged of tourists dumping rubbish and empty alcohol bottles on Takapuna Beach - then threatening to "knock the brains out" of locals who challenged their behaviour.

The group from the beach dine at Nandos in Albany and demand a refund after ordering meals.

A group of travelers also dined at Mr India in Northcote where they only paid for one $16 meal but refused to pay for $250 worth of other food claiming there was hair in it.

Harvinder Kaur, owner of nearby Mr India, claimed they ate most of their food before putting hair in it and refusing to pay a $250 bill.

Jan 14:
The group check out of Ibis. The owner of Coffee Club next to the hotel reports them to police saying they were abusive and didn't pay for a piece of chocolate cake.

Jan 15:
A petition was launched on Change.org to "get rid of" the group and "teach a lesson to future tourists that we do not accept such behaviour".

Immigration NZ issues the group a deportation notice after they, and police, were called to Burger King Te Rapa, Hamilton, by staff after alleged unruly behaviour by the family of travellers.

A staff member said they were causing a nuisance, complaining about and asking for free food. The children were also banging coins on the machines, as other guests looked on. Staff decided to call police after they were walking through the drive-through.

Shortly afterwards they were stopped by police in the suburb of Harrowfield when officers found that two young children in their car were not in appropriate car seats. A family member was then taken by police to The Warehouse to buy two seats.

Jan 16:
A 26-year-old woman in the group appears in Hamilton District Court charged with theft, alleged to have stolen energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from an Auckland service station.

Tina Maria Cash, 26, admitted she stole energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from a Caltex service station at Albany on December 31.

On January 3, Cash returned to the Caltex with her children and stole more Red Bull, rope and sunglasses valued at $50.