At some point in our travel lives, we’ve all been the bad tourist. Even as conscientious travelers hoping to always have a compassionate worldview, sometimes you just get way too drunk after tripping on psilocybin all day and crash your Dutch date’s bicycle into a parked police vehicle that you swear came out of nowhere while she rides on the back rack…
Who hasn’t that happened to, ammirite?
But the chances are that nothing you’ve ever done compares to the folks who just finished bludgeoning their way through New Zealand’s North Island. The menace that is this British family of 12 fits closer into the category of a tropical storm. You can see them coming. You hope it’s not going to be too catastrophic. But the next morning all the outside paneling has been torn down there’s a lawn chair through your windshield.
Here’s a brief summary of the shit this mysterious family has been accused of stirring up during their holiday.
- Before they had even landed, they were accused of causing a disruption on the plane, disturbing passengers and leaving a dirty diaper in the overhead compartment (at this point they were also assumed to be Irish, which folks in Ireland were not keen on).
- Threatened locals with violence (in the most hilarious way) after leaving their trash on a beach and refusing to pick it up.
- Stole a Christmas tree and sunglasses from a gas station, were caught on tape, and then returned to the same gas station twice.
- Stole Redbull and rope from the gas station on a separate occasion (the member of the family in question plead guilty to these offenses).
- At the same time, another family member nicked a bottle of Primo brand milk by slipping it under her clothes while simultaneously paying for cigarettes.
- Abusive towards staff at a Burger king, after walking through the drive though and causing problems for other customers.
- Trashed a motel room, leaving it messy and “smelling like kid’s poo,” and pinching kitchenware and cutlery from the room.
- Complained about the quality of food at an Indian restaurant, the result of which their bill was reduced from $280 to $60. Reports on this one vary with another timeline reporting they put the hair in the curry themselves and only paid $16.
- They pulled a similar maneuver at at a cafe called The Coffee Club, demanding a refund after they claimed food came out cold.
- One of the kids — the hero of this story, really — flipped off the public and media outside of his relatives’ court hearings.
The fact that they did all this while claiming to be part of the 10th richest dynasty in England adds to the absurdity of it all. As does the fact that their most aggressive character seems to be a young boy threatening to “knock your brains out.”
Any one of these incidents alone would be defensible in misunderstanding. Traveling with kids can be difficult and challenging, and we’re not here for travel-shaming. But as a body of work in the Mayhem and Destruction field, this is a freaking impressive CV. It’s also giving ammunition to New Zealand’s growing contingent who are unhappy with the influx of tourists in recent years.
Not all are pleased with the coverage of the situation either. The NZ media — thankfully devoid of serious violence or government shutdowns to cover — has followed the family with a certain zeal, dubbing them the “Holiday Makers from Hell” and making them into minor celebrities. Still, plenty of quiet, quaint Kiwis appreciated the entertainment and thoughtfully alluded to the higher standards we often hold to tourists while not looking inwardly.
It appears for now that the family is on the way out of the country after having their visas revoked. Of course, the departure was not without incident — one final parking ticket for the road. If this family doesn’t get a reality show in six months, there’s no justice in the world.