Communal or social nudity, or “naturism”, is a movement that has seen considerable media coverage in recent years in New Zealand.
Free Beaches NZ spokesperson Mike Ward said that “repressive views” are holding naturism back from becoming a norm for society.
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Mr Ward told Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch that it will take “years” for naturism to be accepted in New Zealand like it is in Europe.
“It’s a generational thing that can only happen if parents stop indoctrinated children that the nude human body is indecent,” he said.
While there is no specific law against nudity in New Zealand, it is illegal to display obscene or indecent exposure, and offensive and disorderly behaviour.
The law gets especially murky with unofficial nudist beaches in New Zealand, particularly on Waiheke Island.
Some Waiheke residents recently blasted the rise of naturism on island, citing that nudity has been forced onto residents and makes some families feel uncomfortable.
Mr Ward said complaints against naturism have only been a recent thing.
“It’s only in the last few years, relatively speaking, where there’s been a bit of an issue about nudity,” he said.
He is calling for New Zealanders to accept “cohabitation” on beaches like there is in Europe – where some opt for clothes and some ditch the togs.
“We accept that for many, many people - nudity is a difficult thing for them to comprehend,” he told RadioLIVE.
He said that explaining naturism to some is like trying to explain to someone how to distinguish a fine wine – it can be quite difficult to articulate.
“It’s a very subtle thing, but you have to experience it yourself.”
Listen to the full interview with Mike Ward above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.
Correction: It has come to our attention that Mike Ward is former Free Beaches NZ beaches, not the current president. This has been ammended.