Baring it all for Nude Zealand

20:22, Mar 14 2014

Eventually this column leads to the topic of a new couch. Bare with me.

Whether it's getting your kit off for a worthy cause, a protest or having a bit of a laugh, New Zealanders seem drawn to airing out their birthday suits.

The most recent nude fuss was a Kiwi and his Aussie mate streaking through the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. A video of it appeared on YouTube and the Peruvian government have officially frowned.

A translation of the police report says it is "totally forbidden to take photographs of this magnitude".

There is no surer way to encourage further nudity by telling an Antipodean it was the "magnitude" that caused the problem.

Remember Nelson man Wati Holmwood? He streaked to infamy wearing a pair of sport shoes and a veneer of lubricant to avoid tackles during a State of Origin game last year.


And let's not forget broadcaster Marc Ellis instigating National Nude Day, offering cash for streakers and encouraging people to send photos of their naked pranks - for which there was no shortage of takers.

If it's not the larrikin spirit egging on people to pose in the buff, it's worthiness.

Blame the 2003 film Calendar Girls inspired by the true story of Yorkshire housewives who shed their clothes for a Women's Institute calendar.

Now there is no end to various fundraiser calendars featuring Miss October's modesty hidden with sheaves of oats and Mr February grinning from behind a fire hydrant.

We have an annual naked bike ride in protest against cars and oil consumption, nude ocean swims and nude rugby.

Forget the new flag designs, let's change the name of the country to Nude Zealand, get a pair of tits on the flag and be done with it.

It's nothing new of course, nudity is an ancient form of protest. Bare buttocks are the universal sign language of outrage.

Pre-European Maori performed the haka with erections for both entertainment and warfare, and it was not unusual for women to welcome visitors with an action song during which their genitals would be revealed.

The whakapohane (mooning) continues to be an appropriate way to express derision.

Naturists will be quick to distance themselves from these types of public display though. Nudity sells but naturism is a lifestyle.

Is it strong Christian values that make the sight of a nude body feel a bit naughty? Certainly not for those in the medical profession.

I have a doctor in my life. Not a real doctor, you understand, a PhD doctor. A Non Doctor, if you will.

But despite his false qualification, he is far too comfortable with the nude body. Initially at least, we spent most of our time together alone so the first occasion during which we were expected to dine out with other people we decided on a quick practise at grown-up dinner table conversation. I set the table and produced the meal.

The Non Doctor emerged from the shower, removed his only apparel (a towel) and took a seat.

The chairs are covered in vinyl but come on!

For lack of things to discuss at an afternoon tea at Grandma's recently, we recalled the tale.

This had led to a fairly firm view in my family that the Non Doctor is a naturist. A view which I do little to stem.

Take these text messages to my poor mother this week:

Me: "Mum!! The Non Doctor was sitting on the new couch in a wet towel so I told him not to. And so now he is on it nude. My furniture is soiled!!"

Mum: "Ha ha!! He's my ideal son-in-law!! God sure answered my prayers."

Me: "Not the response I was looking for."

Mum: "Didn't know u had a new couch."

So, um, yeah. I have a new couch. It's not all that comfortable.

The Press