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Naked New Zealand

According to the 1927 New Zealand Police Officers Act, “exposing” oneself in public is punishable with up to one year of hard labor. In addition, the law allows for the offender to be whipped not once, but twice. Luckily, New Zealand law was modernized in 1981 with passage of the Summary Offences Act where only the intentional and “obscene” exposure of “any part of genitalia” is considered a crime. Despite their ambiguous laws, modern New Zealanders generally have a relaxed attitude toward the naked human body. In fact, so much so that New Zealand is home to the world famous Naked Rugby Games pictured above. It’s quite clear that both the participants and spectators are enjoying good fun. (Please note that while Spanking FIT endorses nude sunbathing, for health reasons it does not encourage its readers to play “rough and tumble” sports like rugby in the nude.)

Welcome to the Naked New Zealand segment of Spanking FIT‘s International Nude Beach Evaluation.  In it, we present an in-depth evaluation of New Zealand’s fabulous, but unofficially naked beaches. For reasons of better weather, Spanking FIT focused our attention on the North Island and those nude beaches within reasonable proximity to Auckland, the largest metropolis. Let’s begin with a brief history of this enchanting country and the city of Auckland.

A Brief New Zealand History

According to anthropologists, New Zealand is one of the last significant land masses on earth to be settled by human beings. Evidence indicates that Polynesians arrived around 1250 C.E. Their descendants are known today as the Maori people. The Maori were  impressed by the spectacular lenticular clouds resembing space ships which form over New Zealand’s mountain ranges; consequently, they named their new home Aotearoa meaning “land of the long white cloud” in their native language. In 1642, the Dutchman Abel Tasman next came along and named it Nova Zeeland after Zeeland in his native Holland. His visit didn’t last long.  He retreated after an immediate hostile encounter with the Maori.  Tasman returned to Holland with morbid tales of Maori cannibalism, possibly to justify his defeat. It wasn’t until 1769  that another European returned, the illustrious Captain Cook who gave it its present name of  New Zealand. After vanquishing its Maori natives,  the British subsequently acquired New Zealand as a  colony.

Today, New Zealand’s largest city  is Auckland, named after the Baron Auckland a.k.a. William Eden. It’s located on the one of two islands referred to as the Northern Island. (Baron Auckland was also Britain’s chief spy of the era who played a role in attempting to thwart the U.S. War of Independence). When visiting, don’t forget to do as we did and jog to the top of the volcano Mt. Eden named in the spy’s honor. It’s a fact that the entire city of Auckland is built on top of  a dormant volcanic field which can become geologically active again. Mt. Eden is just one of 48 such volcano cones.  At 196 meters, Mt. Eden is  also Auckland’s highest natural point commanding panoramic views of city and harbor.  Take time out in the middle of your run to have a look down the 50 meter volcano crater which last spewed out larva only about 15,000 years ago.

As previously stated, during our trip we focused on visiting nude beaches in the Auckland area, since the summer time (December through February) weather there is more conducive to sunbathing nude. You may expect comfortable average summer time highs around 24 C. ( 75 F. ). What makes New Zealand so unique from a naturist perspective is the presence of  exciting unofficial nude beaches just a few kilometers from its Central Business District (C.B.D.). What follows is Spanking FIT’s evaluation of them, beginning with St. Leonard’s:

St. Leonard’s Nude Beach

Less than 12 km. ( approx. 7 mi.) from Auckland’s Central Business District is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful unofficial nude beaches in the world. Take State Highway No. 1 north to the town of Takapuna.  Go north  past Auckland University of Technology (A.U.T.)  North Campus and exit  onto Edmond Rd.. From there, take Lake to St. Leonard’s Rd.. Your destination’s G.P.S. coordinates are 36.7998 S and 174.7912 E.. Here’s how Spanking FIT ranks it in the three major categories of health, safety, and enjoy-ability:

Health (“B+”)

Land, Air,  Water, Aotearoa (L.A.W.A.) is a partnership between New Zealand’s regional  governing  councils and its Ministry for the Environment.  Although it does not evaluate water quality at St. Leonard’s specifically, it does so at nearby Takapuna.  According to their official website at lawa.org.nz, there is a ‘low risk” (1-5%) of being infected by enterocci  bacteria as a result of swimming. On the day we visited, we found the beach itself clean and litter-free. Keep in mind that although dogs are allowed during the summer months on the beach early morning and evenings, most owners are conscientious about cleaning up after them.

While New Zealand officials have not totally abandoned their apprehensions regarding the naked human body, they  have given St. Leonard’s  “smoke free” status.  The degree to which smoke may pollute a relatively well-ventilated open space like St. Leonard’s seems like a debatable scientific question to us. On the other hand, we have few doubts regarding the health benefits nude sunbathing affords. (see:”Nude Sunbathing-It Does A Body Good!“)

A word of caution with regard to intense New Zealand summer sun: during its summer, the southern hemisphere is closer to the sun than the northern hemisphere is during its summer. The southern hemisphere also contains a thinner ozone layer and less pollution- blocking U.V. rays. Consult New Zealand National Institute of Weather & Atmosphere at their website (niwa.co.nz) for U.V. indices with appropriate warnings.

Lastly, it should also be noted that sand flies and mosquitoes can occasionally be a nuisance, but not to the same degree as at New Zealand’s South Island beaches where they are notorious.

Safety (“B”)

As previously mentioned, the 1981 New Zealand Summary Offences Act adopted a more lenient policy toward public nudity. Despite this, the local politicians couldn’t resist the opportunity to interfere with human health and enjoyment. In 1992, the North Shore Council passed a bylaw making it illegal for any person 12 or older to expose their pubic areas to others.  Consequently, numerous arrests at St. Leonard’s were conducted by under cover cops. This sad state of affairs persisted  until 2003 when local naturist organizations brokered an “agreement” with the Council in the following manner: the definition of “exposure” was modified to mean being naked within 50 m of any beach access, or being naked within 30 m of another clothed individual. To deal with this stupidity,  currently some nude sunbathers choose to cover up at the sight of any approaching clothed visitor rather than to risk citation.

Crime statistics which specifically relate to St. Leonard’s Nude Beach are unavailable online. However, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Justice Crime and Safety Survey results at justice.govt.nzcass,  on average 28% of Aucklanders are victims of some form of crime  more than once on an annual basis. This is slightly higher than the New Zealand national average of 24%.

Enjoy-ability (“A”)

St. Leonard’s  is among the most beautiful nude beaches on earth. It’s characterized by huge white cliffs and fantastic views of Rangitoto Island, one of the largest members of the Auckland volcano field. The beach consists of golden white sands punctuated by unusual rocks. Marine animals including seal and dolphin are plentiful. The quiet surf is a favorite of paddle boarders and kayakers. The relatively clean warm waters of summer are ideal for a swim. The quaint town of Takapuna, with its shops and cafes,  is easily walking distance for the physically fit.  Just don’t forget to suit up before arriving.

Ladies Bay Nude Beach  (St. Heliers)

About the same distance from Auckland C.B.D. as St. Leonard’s is still another popular nudist retreat called Ladies Bay Nude Beach (L.B.N.B.). The most scenic way to arrive is by taking  Route 6 to Route 7 followed by Tamaki Dr. to Cliff Dr. (Beach coordinates are 36.8440 S and 174.8633 E)  The beach is right before the rock promontory called Achilles Point. On the way you will take in breath-taking views of Takapuna Peninsula, Tamaki Straight, and Rangitoto Island. Here’s how Spanking FIT rated it:

Health (“B”)

In a manner similar to St. Leonard’s Beach, Land, Air, Water Aotearoa ranks Ladies Bay water quality as “low risk” for bacterial infection.  The beach itself was somewhat littered with bottles on our visit, but not to an unusual degree for a popular urban beach. It’s a good idea to wear sandals or shoes when walking. As at St. Leonard’s, sand flies and mosquitoes can at times be annoying.

Safety (“B”)

Nudity at Ladies Bay Beach also falls under the New Zealand Summary  Offences Act of 1981 which is interpreted as requiring an element of lewdness, and not mere nudity for an offense to have been committed. Nevertheless, children will be children and a few local residents keep calling the local authorities on the naked sun bathers. So far, the worst the authorities have done is to issue warnings. Incredibly, some complainants even blame the nude sun bathers for the rowdy behavior of  “gawkers” whose activities were accelerated by the construction of a beach viewing platform  by city council!

Crime stats that apply to Ladies Bay specifically are unavailable. However, as previously explained, Auckland is considered less safe than New Zealand overall, but not dangerously so. The fact that Ladies’ Bay is located in a somewhat upscale neighborhood possibly enhances its safety.

Swim cautiously, if you do. This beach is not patrolled by a New Zealand Surf Life Saving Club unlike many others.

Enjoy-ability (“A”)

This beach is located in the small community of St. Heliers with its enjoyable restaurants and outdoor cafes. It  is at the bottom of steep cliffs upon which flourish exotic flora. Volcanic rocks fallen down these cliffs long ago have added to rugged beach beauty. The beach itself is wide, sandy, and approximately 150 m (450 ft.) long.

It is a shame that the local Auckland press has given L.B.N.B.  a “bad rap” by claiming that “sleazy”activities frequently take place here. These alleged  activities include: “playing of loud music”, “youth drinking and pot use”, and “gay shanigans” that are rumored to  occur in specially constructed cliff huts made from drift wood. While Spanking FIT observed some of this during our visit, none of it looked in the least bit threatening. If anything,  these complaints are probably born out of envy on the part of non-participants.  Despite the complaints, Auckland City Council, much to its credit, has refused requests by residents to erect “No nude sunbathing” signs.

On the day we visited, most beach participants practicing nudity were of a “mature” age.  However, there were exceptions. A surprising feature was the presence of young naked females as well as young naked men. This is unusual because it has been our experience that most nude beaches in populated areas are visited predominantly by males.

White’s Nude Beach (North Piha)

White’s is located on the remote west coast of New Zealand facing the Tasman Sea. It is a nudist beach which is simply ideal for physically fit Spanking FIT readers. Reaching it requires about a one hour hike on steep coastal cliffs. (G.P.S. coordinates are 36.9382 N. and 174.4613 E). It is a fact that renowned climber Sir Edmond Hilary was a resident of the area and prepared for his famous climbs on these very same trails.  After an exhilarating hiking workout, you may safely strip-off at White’s and relax on its beautiful white sands. Here’s our evaluation of it:

Health (“B+”)

According to L.A.W.A., the sea water at North Piha presents a low risk of bacterial infection from contact. The fact that this beach is relatively remote affirms that observation. Rest room facilities and fresh water are available at the North Piha Surf Life Saving Club. Although the beach is virtually free of litter, sand flies and mosquitoes can be a bit more of a nuisance here than at Auckland’s east coast beaches.

Safety  (“B+”)

The New Zealand Summary Offences Act is applicable here also. Nevertheless, due to White’s remote location, it is rarely enforced.

Auckland crime data sources do not apply here. Nevertheless, .there are very few publicized incidents of hikers becoming  crime victims. It’s probably wise to park at the Surf Life Saving Club (S.L.S.C.) before you embark on your trip to the beach so as to keep your vehicle safer.

While the S.L.S.C. does patrol Piha, keep in mind that the waters here are extremely hazardous and that over one hundred individuals  have to be rescued every year.

Enjoy-ability (“A”)

White’s is a remote and magnificent black sand beach located on the remnants of a 16 million year old volcano called Lion Rock. In addition to being a popular nudist destination, it’s an equally popular destination for champion surfers due to its impressive surf.

Its wildlife and flora are spectacular- the former consisting of seagulls and exotic seabirds,  the latter including Pohutakawa Groves which bloom a brilliant red around the holiday season (summer) in New Zealand. Pohutakawa is a coastal evergreen belonging to the myrtle family.

The coast is also adorned with waterfalls and caves. Only the brave of heart dare explore the latter. We didn’t.

In contrast to S.L. & L.B. Nude Beaches, White’s is usually deserted allowing one to romp around completely unhampered by swim wear. One drawback to this is that there is less sociability here and less opportunity to enjoy abundant “eye candy”, unless you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of surfers. The small town of Piha, with its shops and cafes, is directly to the south and offers visitors the opportunity to mingle with some “locals”.

Uretiti Nude Beach  (near Ruakaka)

125 km.  (75 mi.)  north of Auckland just off of Highway No. 1 is what is considered by many to be New Zealand’s premier nude beach. The beach is also a second home to champion surfers like the one pictured above. Uretiti Nude Beach is due north  of the charming town of Waipu, and south of  Whangarei, the capitol of New Zealand’s Northland region. Its G.P.S. coordinates are 35.9373 S. and 174.4624 E..

Health (“B+”)

The beach itself was relatively clean when we visited. Also, it’s located due south of a New Zealand Department of Conservation campsite where trash cans, toilets, and showers are available (Uretiti Recreational Reserve). It is relatively free of seaweed, so that sand flies are not a problem. Neither are mosquitoes. According to A.L.A.W., the risk of contracting  bacterial infection from coming in contact with water is low.

Safety (“B+”)

The New Zealand Ministry of Justice ranks Whangarei, the nearest city, safer than Auckland. There have been very few publicized crime incidents at Uretiti.

While nudity is accepted south of the campsite, according to Otaga Daily Times (a local publication),  the police have occasionally been called when nudists have ventured too far north. Be warned, stay south or else you may invite an encounter with the Ruakaka police!

Enjoy-ability (“A”)

Uretiti is around 5 km. (3 mi.) long with soft golden sand. Expect breath-taking views of Bream Bay and the embedded islands, in addition to the wild Whangaei headlands. Dolphin and the other  sea life also enhance the natural beauty.

Uretiti has another enjoyable feature: while never crowded, it is also never empty (at least not in the summer time). There is always some one there to enjoy a chat with and befriend. New Years day is usually the busiest.

Like all New Zealand nude beaches, Uretiti has been tarnished with bad publicity by local newspapers which appeals to provincial prudes. They have run derogatory headlines such as “nasty happenings in the dunes” and often emphasize that the beach is frequented by “lots of gays”.  It is clear that the level of open-mindedness in New Zealand has not reached that of Canada or Europe. Nevertheless, given the size of most New Zealand beaches, it is easy to avoid detection if one desires to so indulge.

Conclusion

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Despite a history with a modest degree of oppressive anti-nudity legislation, the modern nation of New Zealand, and the greater Auckland area, offer abundant opportunity to enjoy all the psychological and physical health benefits that nude sun bathing has to offer. Depending on your mood, you may wish to remain local and enjoy a very sociable naturist experience within just minutes of downtown Auckland; or, you can travel a bit further to the “Wop Wops” and be nude in perfect solitude. (The term “Wop Wops” is New Zealandese for “the middle of nowhere”.) Regardless of your choice, you will be certain to be hypnotized by the raw rugged beauty of this nation and its City of Auckland which has a unique “alien planet” feel about it by virtue of being situated atop an ancient volcanic field.

I sincerely hope that you found our latest segment of International Nude Beach Evaluation informative and enjoyable. During the southern hemisphere winter you may wish to  visit the fantastic nude beaches of the northern hemisphere as evaluated in Naked Nova Scotia , Nude Beach in Toronto, Nude Beach Tempest Hits Mid-Atlantic, or Naked Carolina. Anytime of year check out those Spanking FIT  evaluated in  Legally Bare-A Nude Beach in Haulover Park or in Nude Beach Secrets of South Eastern Florida. Possibly fly further south and experience beach nudity as in Dangerously Naked- Nude Beaches of Mexico or as in Fellow Travelers-Hit the Nude Beaches of Communist Cuba! Thanks again. Remember, I rely on your valuable feedback to enhance the work.  Sincerely, Dr. Garrett