'Horrible' sight of naked man spurs boy's protest

Last updated 01:53 25/10/2008
MAARTEN HOLL/Dominion Post
ANTI-NUDE: 10-year-old Kapiti Coast resident Michael Hayward has started a petition against nudity on the area's beaches.

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A 10-year-old Kapiti Coast boy has launched a petition against nudity on local family beaches.

Kena Kena School pupil Michael Hayward presented his 144-signature petition to Kapiti Coast District Council's regulatory and management committee after a "horrible" sighting of a man sunbathing naked on Paraparaumu Beach.

The petition opposed a proposed council bylaw under which nudity would be allowed but if nudists' behaviour was deemed offensive it would be dealt with by the police.

Michael and his mother spotted the naked man near McLean Park children's playground this month.

"I was very upset when we saw the man with no clothes lying right where we had to walk past him. It was horrible, I felt embarrassed, I think other children would find it disturbing. It was not something kids should have to put up with."

Yesterday the council extended to November 3 the deadline for submissions on the bylaw. Spokesman Tony Cronin said most of the 200 received so far were saying, "We don't want our beaches naked" and the council was saying, "Neither do we, but we can't enforce that."

Mr Cronin said "every other Wellington local authority" had the same stance. "There is nothing to stop you being on the beach naked except that you may offend somebody, in which case the police may be called."

Michael said the council should designate nude areas, such as parts of Paekakariki and Peka Peka beaches where nudity had been popular for years. "Family beaches should stay family beaches."

His mother rang the police about the sunbather, who was advised by police to get dressed, and he left.

School principal Bruce McDonald praised Michael's achievement.

"He has done something important. It is a serious local issue."

Council chief executive Pat Dougherty stressed the proposed bylaw was no different from the existing one, which had worked "just fine".

"A guy took his clothes off on Paraparaumu Beach and the police moved him on."

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- The Dominion Post

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