Should Waitangi Day be used as a chance to party?
Prime Minister John Key says he is not surprised Kiwis in London took part in a rowdy Waitangi Day pub crawl, saying "celebrating is part of what they do".
A urinating Waitangi Day mob of drunk Kiwis sparked a complaint to the New Zealand High Commission.
Mr Key said reports of bad behaviour should not be "over-egged".
"New Zealanders are well known for having a pretty good time when they are out in London.
"I'd encourage them to have good behaviour where they can.
Key admitted he too celebrated Waitangi Day when he lived in London by "having a couple of beers".
"I kept my shirt on though," he added.
Kiwi Dylan Clements says up to 1500 drunken New Zealanders took to the streets on Saturday in a shameful display of debauchery.
He has filed a complaint with New Zealand High Commissioner Derek Leask, saying their antics brought "great shame" on New Zealand.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police in London said this morning they had received no complaints.
Mr Clements, 28, said he watched participants urinating and vomiting on famous religious landmarks, including Westminster Abbey and the historic Jewel Tower, and exposing themselves indecently on the street.
Others sculled alcohol on the Tube, intimidated Londoners and assaulted Korean tourists with snowballs during the marathon boozing session.
Mr Clements, a former Wellingtonian who works as a London travel agent, said the crowd eventually gathered in Parliament Square to perform a mass shirtless haka. Their antics brought New Zealand into disrepute and made a mockery of tourism campaigns designed to lure British travellers, he said.
Confused Londoners took to Twitter over the weekend to vent their feelings about the pub crawl.
"What was going on at Hyde Park today?" wrote James Somerfield. "Looked like there had been a giant party, and there were crazy drunks everywhere!"
`Juls' wrote: "Group of Kiwi guys really representing NZ well. So f...ing wasted on a Waitangi Day pub crawl they jst wet themselves outside Subway. Class."
Another wrote: "Wtf is going on on ken high street 1000s of drunk kiwis on the loose."
Now in its 13th year, the pub crawl's route follows the London Underground's Circle Line, which forms a loop beneath central London.
Mr Clements joined revellers for the last hour and said participants were "p...... and spewing everywhere". "There were thousands of people walking past and it was just embarrassing and disrespectful."
Other participants flouted a drinking ban on the Underground and used "vulgar sexual language" in front of children and elderly passengers.
"A number of commuters in tube carriages were visibly distressed by the behaviour."
One man "viciously abused" the landlord of The Red Lion pub, which was damaged earlier that day by drunk Kiwis, Mr Clements said. "The participant wanted to use his toilet. [He] then attempted to urinate against the building."
Photos posted on Facebook showed a man scaling a lamp post and another giving a passerby the fingers. Another participant is pictured wearing just a G-string.
The behaviour undermined New Zealand's international reputation, Mr Clements said.
"I'm a travel agent. I see the campaigns that the New Zealand Tourism Board does – they're spending millions of pounds on advertising campaigns when people here are seeing Kiwis drunk and p...... in the streets.
"Imagine if, back in New Zealand, thousands of Chinese people urinated down Queen Street after Chinese New Year celebrations – the public would, perhaps unfairly, view Chinese as disorderly, dirty, careless people.
"In the same respect, the Waitangi Day Pub Crawl unfairly represents all New Zealanders living in London."
Waitangi Day deserved respect. "It is not a day that should be represented by drunk Kiwis wreaking alcohol-fuelled havoc on the streets of London."
On a website set up to promote the pub crawl, organiser Clint Heine said he met police before the event and they were present on the day to keep an eye on things.
Yesterday, on the pub crawl's Facebook page, participants said police had told them they were a "well-behaved bunch".
A Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman said she was not aware of the complaint. London Metropolitan Police who dealt with the incident could not be reached last night.
Labour foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said nobody minded people having a good time but vomiting and defecating in public didn't do much for New Zealand's reputation in Europe.
"I've no problem if they're crazy enough to take their shirts off and do a haka in the middle of the snow in London in February, fine.
"But I know that when I was living in London and you saw people on the tube that were vomiting and urinating you took offence at that."
People at home wouldn't like it is a group of English people behaved similarly here, he said.
"By all means go have a good time but when it comes to behaving offensively in a public place, it's not on for people to be damaging our reputation by behaving in our way."
Most of those at the event were well behaved but a significant number were not and were openly identified as being New Zealanders.
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