Editorial: No to naked antics on beach

By Scott Inglis


The controversial issue of public nudity is back in the spotlight in the Bay and dividing people.

Papamoa Beach residents around Sunbrae Grove, sick of what they see as an invasion of their local beach by naked people performing unsavoury acts, are so fed up they called a meeting with the mayor on Thursday night.

Good on Mayor Stuart Crosby for turning up and meeting with these upset locals. By doing so, he has demonstrated he cares about the serious concerns they have.

The problem, in the eyes of residents, is simple. Most people are not upset with nudists providing they are discreet. The problem they have is the men who deliberately parade themselves in front of other beachgoers, including children.

This offensive behaviour, including homosexual activity, has scared some locals away from using the beach or walking their dogs.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

The issue has fast become one of the most contentious and popular on bayofplentytimes.co.nz with at least two dozen comments by yesterday.

Some think people should have the right to strip off down at the beach and do as they please and to hell with everyone else.

Others think this is wrong and people should have the right to go to the beach and not be confronted by this sort of behaviour.

I agree with the latter view.

I simply cannot buy into the concept that people have the right to take off their clothes and parade their naked bodies in front of other people, even on a beach.

Generally, I don't think there's any place for nudity on any of our beaches. People should have the right to go to any beach at any time and not have to see this sort of thing.

If people want to take their clothes off, why not do it in the privacy of their home or backyard? Why must they feel the urge to involve other people in their pursuit?

Having said this, discreet nude sunbathing is, by and large not too offensive, and should not cause too many problems, depending on the exact location, day and time. I would like to think these people would be considerate of others, especially younger people and children.

But how on earth anyone can defend nude men flaunting themselves in front of people and committing sex acts in the dunes is beyond me.

Have we, as a community, lost our way with what is morally right and wrong?

I couldn't believe it when I read the letter in today's edition from Janice O'Brien.

She says men lying down have suddenly stood up and faced her when she has walked past and even walked towards her.

"I have even seen this when children have been just back a little way playing in the sand. Men seem to pop up everywhere in the sand dunes," she writes.

"One day a man walking towards me suddenly just dropped his shorts, gave me a heck of a shock, I just was not expecting that as there are other clothed people who walk along the beach."

These men are not naturists. They are dirty criminals who should be dealt with by police.

This begs the question: how are these men getting away with this? I was under the impression that this sort of behaviour was illegal.

A clearer law on public nudity is needed.

A police officer attended Thursday night's public meeting and residents look set to gather photographic evidence to pass on to police the next time they see these people engaged in sexual activity.

They may also record vehicle registration numbers and put notices on car windscreens asking them to be more discreet.

These are great measures.

It is high time locals reclaimed their beach. They have more right to it, having spent hundreds of thousands buying nearby real estate, than the perverts who get a kick out of showing unsuspecting people their private parts.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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