Nudists bare all for environment and body positivity

STUFF
Cyclists get naked to make a point in Golden Bay.

Nude cyclists adorning helmets, body paint and very little else took part in New Zealand's largest naked protest.

The World Naked Bike Ride saw about 80 cyclists ride starkers along the roads of Golden Bay on Saturday.

The annual worldwide event is not just for nudists and exhibitionists, but is an unusual way of baring-it-all for the environment.

Participants were encouraged to ride as "as bare as they dare", starting at Autumn Farm in central Takaka and riding eight kilometres to Kotare Sands in Pohara. The route included part of a newly completed cycleway.

The ride highlights the vulnerability cyclists face and protest against society's dependence on pollution-based transport.

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However, in recent years, the Golden Bay event has become popular for naturists, or nudists who enjoy striping-off and promoting body positivity.

Most participants were from various naturist clubs around the country, who travelled to Takaka especially to take part in the ride.

World Naked Bike Ride in Takaka 2020
NINA HINDMARSH
World Naked Bike Ride in Takaka 2020

Event organiser, Bryan Badger from Christchurch, said the ride aimed to encourage people to make use of bicycles more and "do away with cars" as much as practical.

"The nakedness is a part of the shock effect of protest," he said.

The worldwide event is in its 16th year and takes place in over 50 cities across the globe. It is the largest naked protest that takes place in the country.

World Naked Bike Ride in Takaka is the largest naked protest in New Zealand
NINA HINDMARSH
World Naked Bike Ride in Takaka is the largest naked protest in New Zealand

Andrea Rodriguez, a Christchurch resident from Colombia, said being a naturist was "a part of her roots". This is her second year participating.

"In South America, my family come from indigenous people, it's normal to be naked," she said.

Another naturist, Warwick Austin from Wellington, said people often associated nakedness with sex, but that wasn't the case for naturists.

Jeremy Kallaher, South Island vice-president of the NZ Naturist Federation
NINA HINDMARSH
Jeremy Kallaher, South Island vice-president of the NZ Naturist Federation

"Some [bodies] are long, some are short, some are thin, some are fat, some are stubby – every body's different and that's the beauty about naturism: you accept each other, and yourself, as you are."

Jeremy Kallaher, South Island vice president for the NZ Naturist Federation, said there was a big move toward "acceptance of self" and that included the naked body.

"It's a slap in the face of marketing, that you 'must buy our product or clothes to look beautiful and be accepted in society'," he said.

"We don't need anything. We are perfect just as we are."

The event is in its 16th year
NINA HINDMARSH
The event is in its 16th year