Nudists have fun in the sun

By Genevieve Helliwell

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Dozens of nudists hit the beach on Saturday to enjoy the warm water and bright sunshine.

The controversial Bay of Plenty Naturists annual event was celebrated by more than 60 people, who had a peaceful presence on the beach at the end of Papamoa's Sunbrae Grove.

From 11am the naturists relaxed on the sand, swam in the sea and socialised with others.

"It was a really great day," naturist Glenne Findon said.

"The weather was fantastic, the sea was calm and people were swimming. It was a fantastic day."

Ms Findon said a handful of the people who turned up were first-timers - including a family with a toddler and a couple of older children.

"That was quite exciting, we gained a few new people who came down for their first time as a naturist and everyone had a really good day. That part of the beach is quite isolated and well away from any houses. We had flags up saying "bare on the beach" so people were aware of what we were doing but no one turned around so that was great.

It was just a really nice day out."

Papamoa Police Sergeant Phil Gillbanks said there were no reports of complaints from members of the public and police did not have to attend in any way. He said staff working on Saturday said the event "went off without a stitch".

Local resident Ben De Kleynen earlier spoke up about his frustration over a nudist event on his doorstep saying "it should not happen".

But when the Bay of Plenty Times spoke with him yesterday, Mr De Kleynen said the naturists hadn't bothered him at all.

"I wasn't worried at all. I haven't been out there, I didn't go down to the beach. I'm not the type of person who would go down there and have a look. But there were plenty of people looking and there was a lot of interest. The street was pretty packed with cars."

Mr De Kleynen said he had "a lot of support" from neighbours on Sunbrae Grove, who praised him for speaking out against the nudist event.

"Lots supported my idea but there were others who said 'don't worry about it'."

The event is supported by Free Beaches NZ and is held annually in different locations around the country.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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