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Pāpāmoa Beach nudists: 12 complaints about bathers or behavior

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The number of complaints about Pāpāmoa Beach’s naked bathers or their behavior could reach a dozen in the past three years, according to new data.

A section of the beach, near the intersection of Maranui St and Pāpāmoa Beach Rd, has been popular with nudists for decades.

There are no statutes prohibiting or restricting nude bathing in Tauranga, and police say there is no specific crime related to it.

Official information provided by the police on the number of reports of naked bathers and / or their behavior at Pāpāmoa Beach showed that there were four events in each of 2019, 2022 and 2021.

It was unclear whether the 12 events were all complaints about naked bathers and / or their behavior.


In September 2018, the council adopted a new beach regulation, which included rules for beach driving and fires, but did not include nudist bathroom rules.

Instead, the council said: “Obscene behavior is a police matter and is best managed through existing national legislation.”

The practice of nude sunbathing was discussed at a board meeting in May of the same year, in which a councilor said it was a regularly raised issue.

The updated statute replaced the 2007 beach statute. The new statute will have to be revised in 2028.

The request from the Official Information Act specifically asked for “the number of complaints of people bathing naked / their behavior at Pāpāmoa Beach”.

Police had to search their records by performing a word search for “naked or nudity or nude” in combination with the words “beach and location in Pāpāmoa” for the records, former Bay of Plenty district commander Andy said. McGregor in the reply dated May 4.

The area on the beach of Pāpāmoa where you can swim naked. Photo / NZME
The area on the beach of Pāpāmoa where you can swim naked. Photo / NZME

“Note that it is not possible to explain all the different ways someone might describe this situation in the narrative of each event, so there may be some events that have not been included.

“Police [have] manually examined each event identified to filter out false positives (for example, “naked color wallet lost at Pāpāmoa beach”). “

The data was extracted from an operational database and was subject to change as new information was registered or updated.

The Tauranga City Council does not register complaints of naked bathing because no regulation prohibits or restricts it.

The head of the council regulation monitoring team, Stuart Goodman, said activity on the beach was not monitored by the council or the police.

“It’s a lawful activity, as long as the intent and act of the naked sunbathers are respectful,” he said.

“Indecent exposure is illegal, however, the intent and act that this is interpreted primarily depends on the situation.”

If a complaint had been filed with the council about the behavior of individuals bathing naked, it would have sent them back to the police, Goodman said.

For example, if someone was sunbathing naked but not exposing themselves indecently to another person or with the intent to scare, alarm, or be offensive, their actions may be considered legal.

“This can be even if people are scared or offended by what they see,” Goodman said.

“The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 protects the rights of individuals such as this activity.

“Along with this law and other parts of New Zealand jurisprudence, this is the only form of what you might call the ‘legal framework’ that exists for the latter.”

If someone was bathing naked and behaving inappropriately or with reckless contempt, their actions could be considered offensive or indecent.

An example would be someone exposing their genitals with the intent to shock, alarm or scare someone or do it without due attention knowing that if seen it will cause the same reaction, Goodman said.

Pāpāmoa Beach nudists: 12 complaints about bathers or behavior

SourcePāpāmoa Beach nudists: 12 complaints about bathers or behavior

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