Time for beach nudists to be exposed - councillor

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 06/04/2011

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Exhibitionist nudists causing a stir on the Kapiti Coast should bare their credentials by officially applying for a secluded beach area, a councillor says.

Residents between Te Hapua Rd and Peka Peka beaches have complained about increased "aggressive" nudity pushing locals off their beach.

The beach has been known as a gay meeting place for many years, with locals describing nude men "popping up like meerkats" in the sand dunes.

Residents say naturists, exhibitionists and voyeurs have added to the mix, resulting in couples copulating in public view, and other exhibitionist behaviour.

Kapiti district councillor K Gurunathan believed naturist group NZ Free Beach, which used the area, should ask the council to set aside a secluded part for its use.

The group advertises the spot on its website and put up a flag, with a bear and the message "bare on the beach", at the beach entrance a few weeks ago. Council staff removed it.

"Naturists claim to have a philosophy of openness," Mr Gurunathan said. "It is time that claim was tested and they are exposed through the democratic process. The council has a civilised process of balancing the conflicting use of beachgoers.

"I challenge NZ Free Beach to use this process instead of tactics they seem to have chosen that is alienating the rights of our locals."

NZ Free Beach spokeswoman Joyce Fleming said the organisation did not want a designated beach and rejected claims that members had been offensive. "Having a specified beach would suggest other beaches are not available. At the moment naturists have the use of any beach in New Zealand and use discretion, respect, etiquette and proper behaviour.

"Our family-friendly organisation is up against people misbehaving, they are our worst enemy. We have a strict code on conduct, unlike voyeurs, exhibitionists and sex addicts." The organisation relied on police to charge people with offensive behaviour, she said.

Senior Sergeant Noel Bigwood, of Otaki, announced last month that police planned to target offensive behaviour at the beach. Making an example of a couple of offenders would hopefully "stop other beach users having anything shoved in their face".

Council regulatory services manager Ken Smith said the council debated the issue of deeming specific beaches "clothing optional" two years ago but decided it related more to whether nude behaviour was regarded as offensive or not, which was a police matter.

Nudity is allowed on New Zealand beaches unless it is regarded as offensive. The only other beach in the Wellington region commonly regarded as a nude beach is at Breaker Bay.

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- The Dominion Post

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