Nudists upset beach residents

By Kiri Gillespie

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Papamoa Beach residents upset with "unsavoury" nudists are meeting Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby tonight in an effort to solve the problem.

The meeting is a standard Neighbourhood Watch meeting but will have special emphasis on efforts to remove nudists from the beach, resident Shaun Gallagher said.

Mr Gallagher said the behaviour, which included homosexual activity, from nudists in the Sunbrae Grove area had become so offensive it had scared off residents.

"As a result of what has been happening and the fact these people are appearing more and more bold and coming closer and closer to where we live on the beach ... there are older ladies who just don't go on the beach anymore," Mr Gallagher said.

"We feel what has happened here is totally inappropriate.

"If they want to take their clothes off, try doing it at Mount main beach or Papamoa Palm Beach Plaza, see how far they can get."

The nude beach started more than 40 years ago and began when there were few residents nearby.

Mr Gallagher said Papamoa Beach was now a family place.

"It's no longer appropriate for that sort of behaviour.

"These people are cheeky and arrogant," he said.

Mr Gallagher said the nudists flaunted themselves in front of residents to make them feel uncomfortable.

"It's very, very contrived and it's mostly older people who are in poor repair anyway," he said.

Mr Crosby said there were two types of people who specifically frequented the beach nude.

"There are the genuine nudists who by and large don't cause a problem. Then you have another group. They are basically exhibitionists.

"They are the group that intimidate the locals."

"They may be lying on the beach then when locals go along, they will get up and parade themselves in front of them."

Mr Crosby said he was aware this group had also been seen in lewd and "unsavoury" behaviour in the sand dunes. Last year a man complained to police and the council after witnessing two men engaged in sexual activity.

"That is obviously a deep concern for everyone," Mr Crosby said.

However, there was little that could done legally to enforce any sort of nudist ban.

Mr Crosby said he would be telling Papamoa residents to claim back their beach.

"They shouldn't not go down there.

"They have a right to go down there and not to be offended," he said.

Papamoa Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Ben De Kleynen said: "I used to walk the dunes every day with my dogs but I don't want to anymore because I don't want to be confronted with those people.

"That's why we want to take action."

Public nudity has previously sparked controversy in the Bay with a nude beach bike ride from Omanu to Papamoa and Boobs on Bikes parade.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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