Editorial: Nudists showing too much cheek

By Annemarie Quill

16 comments


No nudes is good news.

Specks of oil on the beaches are not putting off beach goers. But while Brendan Horan is fretting about the sticky mess on togs, today some beach goers will have to watch out they don't get any in their short and curlies.

Today, up to 40 naturists are gathering in Papamoa in little more than their jandals.

Despite what Gok Wan says, the bottom line is that few of us look good naked. Most of us are grateful for clothes to hide our wobbly bits. I don't want to see yours, thanks.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

I used to think American Idol judge Steven Tyler was sexy. Until I recently saw a photo of him on the beach in camo Speedos and no top. Moobs and crocodile skin. Scary.

As for people who want to go the whole hog and prance around naked, I think you are bonkers.

Yet it's a diverse world, so if you want to bare all on your private property, fine. But public displays of nakedness are objectionable.

So I will avoid Papamoa Beach today. But why should I have to?

Today's event, supported by the organisation Free Beaches NZ, is on part of Papamoa Beach which years ago was known as a nudist area. Back then it was a sleepy hollow. Since, new subdivisions have made the area densely populated. The naturists are now met with objections from local residents.

The law on the issue is grey. In New Zealand, there is no specific law against being naked in public. However, charges can be laid for obscene/indecent exposure or offensive or disorderly behaviour.

Clearly some people do find public nudity offensive. So why is it allowed on a public beach?

While some naturists might simply want to sunbathe, naturists on public beaches do attract extreme behaviour and voyeurism. Only last year, a couple of naturists were spotted by a jogger in broad daylight having more than a romantic kiss. In Northland, naturists have been spotting ogling young girls. This month on the nudist beach in Auckland's Ladies Bay, people turned up with alcohol and telescopes.

Beaches are to be shared by all. The naturists have a philosophy of being liberated but they are forcing their way of living on other people. They argue they are not exhibitionists but, if you are fighting for the right to strip off in public, you are by implication requiring an audience to show off to.

They also argue it's not sexual. Again, I would argue that the need to be naked in public is sexual, and to argue that you have the right to do this in a public space is no different to a flasher in a dirty Mac.

If we want to live in society, we have to abide by its general norms and rules. Despite their argument that nudity is harmless, for the majority of us it is not the social norm to parade in public without clothes.

Naturists are a minority. Other fringe groups, from knitting circles to taxidermy fans, pay for private clubs where they meet and do their thing. Bay naturalists already have this facility in Katikati.

Today's event is not about the freedom to be naturists - they already have their Katikati club for this. It's more about a territorial move to force their nudity in our faces.

Naturists need to take a hard look in the mirror at themselves and face up to this naked truth.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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