The Hawke's Bay Naturist Club is opening its padlocked gate to the public for its "textiles optional" open days this weekend.
Anyone interested in the naturist lifestyle will today and tomorrow be able to visit Rapere, as the club is known, to see if the lifestyle appeals and what sort of facilities are on offer. The only area of the club where nudity will be compulsory is in the pool.
Club public relations officer and fulltime Rapere resident Kay Marsh said many people thought being a naturist required fulltime nudity. "The most important thing is just to enjoy yourself," she said. "If you don't want to take your clothes off, you don't have to take your clothes off. If it's something that you've always thought about, or you walk around home naked, just come out and have a look."
Rapere covers four hectares in Glengarry Rd and its facilities include a mini-tennis court, pool and spa, golf green, petanque area and large clubrooms with toilets and showers. The club celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
Mrs Marsh said she had been a naturist for four or five years, after her husband Trevor decided it was something he wanted to do.
Initial concerns that it wouldn't be her "cup of tea" have since been allayed. "Now I love it. It's great. Hardly any washing."
Fulltime residents Grant and Carolyn Ball joined the naturist "movement" in 1973. They both agreed the social side of the lifestyle was a major appeal, as was meeting people with a common goal of "appreciating Mother Earth", Mrs Ball said.
Mr Ball added, "Clothes maketh the man, so they say, but we actually meet the person.
"Don't pre-judge us, come and have a look. You'll be pleasantly surprised."